It’s November! I can’t believe it. As I mentioned in my last post—some 26 days ago already—I frequently lose track of time, marveling at where it goes and how I’ve been using it. Life often gets in the way of our grand designs at productivity, and as much as I try to post here more frequently, stuff happens.
But, it’s November, which means it’s time to focus on at least one of the projects you haven’t had time to work on. That’s how I think of National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short, that time of year when hundreds of thousands of people around the world try to write, and finish, 50,000 words of a novel within the next 30 days. No editing, no backtracking, just moving forward toward that hefty 50,000-word goal. That works out to about 1700 words a day, if you break it down that way.
I am not really a fiction writer, so I don’t plan to do NaNoWriMo, but my husband Alex is. He’s not a writer by profession, but he’s a very creative person who enjoys writing and has lots of lofty, complicated stories to tell.
He amazes me everyday.
He’s never satisfied with life as it is, and he’s always creating new, incredible things. He’s made animations and short films, published illustrations, written screenplays, started writing, drawing, and coloring a graphic novel (a hell of a lot of work for one person), and even wrote a few games. Like many of us, it’s sometimes difficult for him to finish a project, especially when they’re as complex as he tends to make them. And that’s the real trick behind NaNoWriMo. It’s a community of people encouraging and supporting each other to move forward, because it’s one thing (a very good thing) to try doing something, but it’s something else all together to actually finish it.
I’m so proud of Alex right now. For one, I think it’s incredible that he wants to write an entire novel while doing other projects (like his ongoing webcomic), and working a full-time job. But he also entered a screenwriting contest a couple weeks ago, sponsored by the Writer’s Store, choosing to submit not just one screenplay to the contest, but two. The first part of the contest was relatively easy: he only had to write 15 pages of the screenplays. “Only.” Ha.
The exciting and scary part is this: they announced today that Alex is one of the finalists! That means that starting next Saturday, he’ll be working with a screenwriting expert on his screenplay, shaping the 15 pages into a full-length script. At least he has a little more time for that than he does for NaNoWriMo, since he’ll be working with the expert until the end of January. It’s an incredible opportunity, one that will hopefully lead to bigger things, and I’m very excited for him, and super proud.
If I think about it—which I often choose not to—fiction writing scares me a little. Though I used to think of myself as a creative person, I actually hate party games where I’m forced to make up stories on the spot. I’m sure it’s a confidence (or lack thereof) issue more than anything else—most of my problems tend to be confidence-based, but I don’t feel like fiction is something I can do. I’m mostly ok with that, because I’m not sure it’s something I really want to do. But the idea that it’s something that scares me means I should do it more.
Still, a full length, 50,000-word novel is a bit too much for someone who doesn’t really write fiction, even if I take more than a month to do it. But I do want to do something to commemorate NaNoWriMo, and to commiserate with Alex on. I’ve been talking for a while about doing Josh Coffy’s 30-day challenge, and I’m a little embarrassed that I haven’t done it yet. I’m not entirely sure what I’m waiting for either… more time to plan perhaps, or just more time generally. It’s tricky. And scary—which again means that I need to do it.
My point, which you may have probably guessed by now, is I’m going to try to do the 30-day challenge in lieu of NaNoWriMo, and create at least a blog post or something a day, starting with this one. They don’t all have to be blog posts, as Josh says, and I have lots of video footage that’s waiting for editing, though that takes much longer with my only-burgeoning Final Cut 7 skills. I may also try my hand at a podcast, which I’ve never done before. Hell, I may even take a stab at some fiction. Do something scary everyday, so why not. Just creating and publishing something every day for the next 30 days would be amazing. Some of it may end up being crap (though hopefully not), but at least I’ll have finished something. That would be great.
It will be great.
So what are you doing this November? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo, or doing a similar project of your own devising? Or are you growing your facial hair for Movember? Let me know in the comments and we can keep each other accountable!
The adorable comic above is from Will Write for Chocolate, by Debbie Ridpath Ohi.
UPDATE: Of course, there already is a NaNoWriMo-type event for blogging, and it happens every month, not just in November (though November is the main one). It’s called National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo–which doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as easily as NaNoWriMo, but that’s OK. I’m still excited to be participating, and in a more official way!