Well, except for those of you I'm pointing at right now. You folks need to stop reading, disconnect your Internet, and get back to your manuscripts to push out another 3,000 words before lunch. That's right, I'm writing about you people...the NaNo's.
For those uninitiated with the writing world, November marks the annual National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short. During the 30 days that comprise the month, writers say good-bye to their friends and families, stock up on Red Bull, attach catheters to various parts of their bodies, and attempt to finish a 50,000 word novel. Whether any of it makes sense or not doesn't matter, all that's needed is the word count. Despite this seemingly daunting task thousands of nut jobs take up this challenge.
I am one of those nut jobs.
My journey into the land of NaNoWriMo began last year. After decades of wading in the tide pools of writing, I plunged into the depths of the word ocean with my first manuscript, Television, An Autobiography. There were days I pushed out four to five thousand words by the time the clock struck midnight, and there were days where all I could manage was a paragraph or two. As the deadline neared I was able to channel my college all-nighter persona to complete my manuscript a few days before the November 30 deadline.
I felt elated and exhausted at the same time. For years the dreaded virus known as Procrastination kept me from making headway on any writing project. Thus, the steady work on my first novel and seeing its completion was a great accomplishment, and it gave me momentum to complete the second manuscript I was working on. That one is currently being shopped to various agents and publishers in hopes of a billion dollar advance and lifetime publishing contract.
For those who say they can't produce a 50,000 word manuscript in a measly 30 days, I say pish posh. If you've written before in any capacity, even if it wasn't anything longer than a shopping list or a nasty, partisan rant on a website, you can do this. All that's needed is an idea, time, dedication, and lots of chocolate. Preferably dark chocolate, since it's healthier.
By the way, no need for you to go this alone. The organization that runs NaNoWriMo offers online forums with other folks who are ready and eager to encourage you to push yourself beyond previous limits. If the online community feels too impersonal, there are local NaNoWriMo chapters out there offering advice sessions and write-ins where you can sip an Oregon Chai and pound away at the keyboard without distractions like children, spouses, television, or children and spouses yelling at the television.
As for me, I've embarked on this year's NaNoWriMo to complete the second book in my science fiction series. Due to a bout of stomach viruses and emergency carpet shampooing my progress has been slow, and at this writing I only have about 15,000 words. However, I seem to work best closer to deadlines. Hence, as the last day of the month edges ever closer my word counts will most likely increase. I'll let you know how things are going over the next few weeks -- at least for those not participating in NaNoWriMo. For those who are, catch up with me on December 1.
Shameless Promotion #1 Her Father's Wooden Leg, the story I'm co-authoring with Dean Miller, is picking up steam. See what you're missing by reading Part 4 from Dean and Part 5 from yours truly.
Shameless Promotion #2 In my monthly nutrition column at Rocky Mountain Parent I detail the types of turkeys you can purchase for this year's Thanksgiving feast.
Shameless Promotion #3 Cat on a Leash is burning up the Smashwords charts! That is, if you consider a light smoldering 'burning up'. You can change this by going over to the site and making a purchase. My wife's student loan debt will thank you.