Instead of participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this month I’m going to focus on catching up on all the short stories I’ve promised to finish for this blog but haven’t. NaNoWriMo encourages amateur writers to write a novel (or what they consider the equivalent = 50,000 words) in a month (November). I’ve participated in years past. It’s a good motivator. There’s no contest or prizes. You’re just driven to complete a goal in a certain amount of time. And because others participate all over the country (and world) and share their experiences online (and in person in writing groups) you are also motivated by camaraderie.
When I first participated in NaNoWriMo I had just completed my second master’s degree. I was a tad directionless because although I loved the degree I got (Master’s in Library and Information Science) I didn’t quite know what to do with it and my years of experience in advertising and my previous Master’s degree in English. If I was truly honest with myself I wanted to write creatively. I always have. But I didn’t really know how to go about making a living that way. So I just decided to continue my practical job and do NaNoWriMo to fulfill my creativity. I liked it.
Only issue was my job and my chronic migraines and Fibromyalgia took a lot out of me so at the end of November I ended up with a novel I wasn’t super thrilled with. Ever since it’s been on my list of things I either want to revise or start over. However, that first foray into NaNoWriMo gave me confidence. Now writing a novel didn’t seem daunting. I think that’s one of the things the people of NaNoWriMo set out to do for writers when they created it (I assume). Writing is a very isolating and nerve wracking thing. You can write something for years only to release it to the public to realize most think it’s an indecipherable piece of garbage. Bummer.
NaNoWriMo takes the mystique out of writing long form fiction. Before NaNoWriMo I considered myself a creative writer but I would have never said I wanted to be a novelist. I wanted to write screenplays or children’s books because I figured screenplays were full of directions and visual cues so they were really more visual. And I love movies. And children’s books are obviously shorter form. After NaNoWriMo I had the confidence to say I COULD write a novel. This diagram I found even breaks NaNoWriMo down by the numbers (from Errant Science).
When you see it like that 50,000 words makes sense. And as someone who has completed two master’s degrees and is rather wordy in the written form (my two blogs: this one and my pop culture one are proof) generating 50,000 words doesn’t seem impossible. So that’s why I started participating and still want to do it again. I tried last year but I was too freshly injured from my accident to make much headway (pun unintentional since I suffered a head injury).
At the end of October I had to make a choice. Do I participate in NaNoWriMo? I decided that instead of participating this year I want to focus on completing the goal for this blog: a new short story every month for a year. In order to catch up on that goal (truthfully I’m six months behind) I’ve put together a schedule. Instead of 1,666 words a day that equals 50,000 words in 30 days, I’ll do 2 short stories a week. Here’s my little calendar I’m working with.
This calendar means I need to finish my October story TODAY. So you’ll get an update on that. And I’ll post to remind you what I’m writing. Since I’ve started each month. I even have something started for November!