A few weeks ago I heard about NaNoWriMo, a month-long “contest” to write a novel. You start November 1st, end at midnight November 30th, and if you’ve amassed 50,000 words, you win. Of course there are a lot of winners, and no prizes, but it’s a great idea and I think really helps push people in ways they didn’t think possible.
I wasn’t planning on entering, even though I’ve tinkered with trying to write a novel before now. It’s hard work, and it’s easy to get stuck up on plot problems or run out of ideas and abandon the whole thing. That’s the last thing I have time for. I brought up NaNoWriMo in discussion a few days ago and I talked about it as something that other people were doing, not something I was crazy enough to try.
But three days into the month, I added it to my 43things and started writing. I’m way behind the recommended quota already, but I’ve just crossed the 10,000 word mark so I wanted to mark the milestone.
Most of the novels, especially mine, won’t be very good. They have plot problems, weak characters, and half of them are made up as they go along. I’m 8 chapters into it and only have a vague idea of what will happen from one chapter to the next. I did absolutely no planning upfront.
But that’s fine. It’s like a marathon. It doesn’t matter if you look good when you cross the finish line.
It’s about setting unreasonable deadlines. They force you to stop procrastinating and work your heart out to finish something.