November 16, 2013

Geronimo! Or Should I Say GeroNaNoWriMo!

November means a lot of things to different people.

For some, it is No-Shave November. For others, it is all about Christmas: the Prequel. But for the writing community, it is all about NaNoWriMo.

There is no Doing without first Trying
 National Novel Writing Month exists as a month-long pledge for aspiring novelists around the world that for once, they won't get distracted, they won't procrastinate, they won't stop. They'll keep going until they have a full 50,000 word novel saved to their harddrive. Or notebook. Or roll of toilet paper...whatever your medium.

The combined encouragement and peer pressure from friends, chat forums, and famous writers alike pushes writers beyond the wall of writer's block. Rather than worrying about writing the best novel ever, the experiment of NaNoWriMo is to just write. It is daunting, but liberating to just get the words down on paper and edit later.

For years, I've watched while my fabulously talented writing friends completed one novel after another. I'd contemplate joining, but could never quite commit out of fear of failing to reach 50,000 words. Let's face it, that's a lot of words.

Then consider that out of all of the months of the year, NaNoWriMo happens in November, which is one of my busiest months as I buy gifts, make stocking stuffers, plan parties. It always seemed like way too much to take on in one month.

But then I had an epiphany.

I started this blog as a sort of New Year's resolution dare to myself. I wasn't doing nearly as much writing as I used to, and I wanted to challenge myself to get back into the narrative habit, to keep those writer's muscles flexing.

While it started as a resolution, it has really developed into a fun challenge for me. Do I succeed in publishing a post once a week? Not always. Do I always polish up my photos to that high-gloss magazine finish? No.

But you know what, I am writing. And that alone is the victory.

With resolutions, we so often get blinded by our high goals that anything less is tempting to call a failure. But just like with learning a new skill or eating properly or going to the gym, every day that I try is a victory.

Every day that you're not wasting on the couch is a victory, even if you're not finishing first for that 10-mile run yet. To try is still a victory.

Have I reached 26,000 words yet in my first year of NaNoWriMo? Not quite. But I am writing a novel that I have neglected for the last eight years, and that alone is cause for celebration.

So with all due respect to Yoda, there is a try, and it is the first step to doing.

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