Nanowrimo is one of those challenges just crazy enough to lure a lot of people into it. If you haven’t heard, National Novel Writing Month (abbreviated with the first few letters of each word) is the challenge to write a short novel in November, a 30-day month for 50,000 words or more. The month draws droves of people back to their dusty dreams of being a writer, being a novelist, and let’s them really live it.
I LOVE IT.
I’ve only successfully written the 50,000 words on two… maybe 3? occasions. That being said, the past few years, as I’ve tried to get better and better at writing short pieces and essays and blog posts, I’ve given myself a different challenge in the midst of the excitement of November; I challenge myself to write 50,000 words total, on whatever I need to write: sometimes its emails or pitches or notes or freewrites, but every word counts and I aim for 50K.
This year, I got it! This very blog post, written ahead of time and queued for you to see, was part of those words. I like the accomplishment of setting an arbitrary and unrewarded goal and hitting it. It makes me think that I can do a lot more than I do on an average day if I set my mind to it.
One thing I’m all too aware of is that most of the novels written during Nanowrimo are not ever published; they often aren’t very good at all. At the same time, the people who wrote them are a little better somehow: they figured out a good synonym for a word, or they practiced what they’ve been saying for years about how they “love to write,” or they are a little more confident in themselves. I really think it is a challenge that changes people for the better, even if the prose it generates isn’t all that great.
Is there a major challenge you set up for yourself, only to make sure that you are continually pushing yourself? It’s a bit like bravery practice, actually, but perhaps a little different. Feel free to share in the comments.