a post about visiting a new writing group in Austin and hearing a funny NaNoWriMo anecdote.)
NaNoWriMo is shorthand for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November. People around the globe come together and attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in a single month. It's an amazing challenge and quite a feat that many people actually do complete! I love what it represents - community, creativity, people who don't even know each other deciding to do "the impossible" outside of their day-to-day "real jobs."
I tried it a few years back but did not make the claim that I would write a brand new novel. I also didn't strive for 50k words. I had a novel in progress with very little progress and decided I would use the month to do the best I could to develop it. I wound up with close to 11k new words that month, which is good to have, but I did learn that setting a challenging goal would have pushed me farther. At 11k words I was kind of like, "Well, this is a lot more than I had, I can be lazy and stop now." You know, when it gets hard.
My novel in progress (for years now - ugh!) stands at about 24k words and I have decided, once again, to NaNoWriMo my way through it, only this time I AM aiming for 50k brand new words. I may hit the target and I may not, but I'm sure as hell going to try and so happy for the opportunity to bring writing back into my life.
I've been living in NYC, married, working at a great-albeit-demanding job now for over a year. A lot of things have happened in this year, both good and bad. One of the bad things is that I stopped writing. Completely. Not a thing. In one year.
When I lived in Texas I wrote and published articles out the wazoo. I blogged and wrote poetry and read my work publicly at events and networked with other writers. In NY - nothing. Nada. Zip.
The reason? There are a few. First is the pace and stress and pressure of the city, the pace and stress and pressure of my job. The second is that I kind of lost my motivation and got writer's block. Even when I did set aside time to write, nothing would come. It's like working out every day for a long time and then stopping for a year. When you do go back to the gym, don't expect to just resume like the year of absence didn't take place. It did.
So when a Facebook friend (a member of my Austin writer's group) announced she would be NaNo'ing, it was just the kick in the pants I needed. I completely stopped self-identifying as a writer this past year, when that was practically all I identified myself as previously. How sad! How wrong! Not going to let it happen.
Wish me luck...