Saturday, October 8, 2011

23 Days and Counting

I feel like the year has sped past us, leaving nothing  more than a blur to prove it happened.  Now here we are in October, November looming over us tauntingly as we admit that we aren't anywhere near being ready for the epic race that is nanowrimo.

For those who don't know, nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month.  One month devoted to the development of writers.  The goal is to write 50k in the month of November.  Which means that October is the month of figuring out what the hell you're going to write and maybe even getting down a plot.  For pantsers, October is for casually wondering what they're going to write before flipping a coin.

Last year was my first experience with nano.  I remember October being a month of nerves where I constantly changed my mind on whether or not I was actually going to attempt what I, at the time, thought was the impossible.  It wasn't until the middle of the month when I finally firmly made up my mind and started telling people (so I couldn't back out of it at the last minute).  I wrote a plot for the 50k novel I wasn't at all certain I would actually finish, and on November 1st, I dived in.

Here's the thing about nano.  It's a fantastic experience, no matter how you choose to get through the month of insanity.  Even going it alone will have you learning something about yourself I'm sure you didn't know before.  But if you decide to join with the community, go out to the write ins and start doing word wars, you can do more than you ever thought you could.

Last November I was given an affectionate nickname that has survived to this day.  (I'll give you a's the name of this blog)  That's right.  Epic Robot.  And I gained it because last year, when I was absolutely certain that I wouldn't even finish my original 50k, I ended the month with over 150k words written.

I learned something about myself last November.  More than one thing, in fact.  I learned, first, that I'm way more competitive than I thought.  I also learned that the nano community (especially the one here in Calgary, lead by the amazing Xanateria and Naiya Azurewater) is one of the most supportive and encouraging communities out there.  And, last, I learned that I'm a writer.

You see, before last November, I had written, but never much.  And I was under the rather mistaken impression that I couldn't finish a novel to save my life.  That writing wasn't a viable option for what I wanted to do with my life.  That I had to get over that fantasy.  But November and nano helped me to realize just how wrong I was about that.

Since last November I have written 2 novels (as well as started one that got scrapped half way through.  Just because I know I can finish novels now, doesn't mean that all of my ideas should be made into novels.) and I've just recently joined a critique group.  2012 will be the epic year of queries and trying to find an agent, and I firmly believe that one day I will be published.

Maybe you're sitting at home right now thinking that nano isn't something you could possibly do.  You can't write 50 thousand words in a month!  And what are you going to write anyway?  No.  Nanowrimo is just not for you.  Take it from me.  It is.  Whether you cross the finish line, or not you'll learn something.  About yourself, about your writing and about the people around you.  And I can almost guarantee you that it's not an experience that you'll forget about in a couple of years.

All I can say is I've been there.  Scared and sure I'd never finish.  But don't let your fear keep you from doing something that could literally change your life.  Take the leap.  You never know where you might land.

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