This was a guest post I did, originally published November 9, 2011, for the now-defunct online literary magazine Fiction Brigade. It’s that time of year again, and since Fiction Brigade no longer exists, I’m reposting this here.
Some thoughts on NaNoWriMo:
Writing 50,000 words in a month may be a walk in the park for the romance writer who turns out four books a year or the daily columnist who can sleep-write 1500 words before an 8am deadline. For everyone else, there’s sleep loss, stress, hunger pains, burns from spilled tea, glares from neglected friends and family, headaches from staring at the screen all day, and that nagging feeling that there you are forgetting things that need to be done–if only you could remember… but Chapter 2 keeps getting in the way.
The whole month is a painful rush to the finish line to end the mental and physical fatigue and rejoin the rest of the world.
So why a person would choose to do this?
Simple: November is cold.
At least, for much of the world it is. It snows and it freezes and it gets dark way too early. Some days it’s not too bad and we get tricked into putting on our sneakers instead of our boots, or the light jacket instead of the big puffy one, or putting out hands in our pockets instead of in chunky mittens. Then when the first flakes start to fall and our feet and our arms and our hands start shivering, we remember that, yes, winter is coming. And somewhere between the snowing and the freezing and the darkening sky we’re supposed to go on with life as if it were sunny and warm and everyone were cheerful.
But when you’re bundled up with a cup of tea and an overheating laptop, things get a little warmer.
When your busty protag finally seduces your stoic hero and they fall into a torrid affair, things get hot.
When your villain gets the drop on your hero and things aren’t looking so good, things reach their boiling point.
And when the pep talks from writers all over the world start coming in and there’s a warm glow in your heart that’s hard to dim or frost over, things look brighter.
When it’s three weeks in and the last ten thousand or one thousand or one hundred words tumble out onto the screen, the finish line blazes in the distance.
When the last word trembles on the keys, the light at the end of the tunnel is blinding.
And when 11:59 on November 30th expires, the victory dances and commiseration parties keep warm and bright the way till the next race.
November is cold and dark; NaNoWriMo isn’t. Which month do you want to spend these 30 days in?