I have a problem with the last week of October. I usually devote 20% of my thinking time to personal problems like debt, whether the cat is being sick on a carpet and housework, the remaining percentage usually gets divided between that sweet castle I’m building in Minecraft, some other computer game, writing a novel and reading. But then comes along the final week of October and I have to consider when to hold an evening meal with friends, how I’m going to fit them around the wee coffee table we have and that other looming issue.
For the uninitiated, thankfully you no longer have to pledge through a physical stunt (those were the underground days), Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s been around since 1999, and I’ve been doing it since 2005.
You can probably guess from the name that it is a challenge to write a novel (specifically 50,000 words) during the month of November. Thousands of entrants log onto the official website to tally up their word counts, take part in discussion forums and generally egg each other on. Sometimes.
However, it doesn’t always have to be a novel. I think about two or three years ago, someone reasoned that if a picture is worth a thousand words, she was going to draw fifty pictures during the month. I have to say, she found that an equal challenge to the word count, as each picture had to have a certain level of completion. What’s important is that you set yourself a challenge and you aim to complete it within thirty days.
This year, I am again taking part, but I’ve decided not to write yet another novel length story, but instead write and draw a comic version of a superhero story I started writing this summer. Come 20 November, I may be regretting this decision. The last time I did a comic in a month was for my dissertation and my hand was so swollen and painful from extended hours of drawing that I remember considering weeping quietly in my room periodically.
I’m so manly.
The nice things about Nanowrimo are the camaraderie (suffering loves company), the sheer diversity of topics and that your writing does not have to be good. If signing on to the official website isn’t helping you get your novel or other project turned out, there are more and more off-line meet ups and groups to go to that you can probably find on Facebook. Writer and artist meet ups are great. I’ve yet to find one that didn’t take place (or end up) in a pub. It’s a good way to meet people interested in similar things to you.
So if you’ve always wanted to write a story but let yourself get down-hearted or convinced yourself not to, November’s almost here. Nobody can judge you, so get writing!