I think NaNoWriMo is trying to kill me.
It’s the final week of November. I’m not sure how much more of this I can handle. I know, I love NaNoWriMo and it’s amazing and blah blah blah. Ugh. Can November be over already?
Okay, it’s not so bad. I can do this. Truth is, you’d think after 10 years (am I getting older every time I post?) of participating in NaNo I would learn to expect the exhaustion at this point. Maybe it’s because it’s been over 5 years since I’ve actually come this far in my word-count, or maybe it’s just because I have the memory of a mole, but I always seem to reach a point where I sort of hate myself a little for starting on such a stupid endeavor.
But then I remind myself: It’s not stupid. It’s actually really, really awesome. It only seems stupid right now because my brain feels like a giant marshmallow, my hand is cramping and I’ve lost my flash drive three dozen times. But in the end, I’m always happier than when I started (after a long nap anyway). So while I work my way through the final slog, I want to remind myself WHY I”m doing this. After all, it’s been years since I won any bragging rights from winning, so I must be getting something else out of this, right?
Why I Love NaNoWriMo
1. Learning from people
If you don’t like to learn, then NaNo might not be for you. But if you love to open your mind and learn everything there is to know about tried and true writing techniques, genre tropes and how many bunnies it takes to change a light bulb (answer: twenty-seven), then you can’t go anywhere better than the NaNoWriMo forums. It’s absolutely overflowing with unique questions, amazing articles and hundreds of individuals willing to share their experiences and insights on just about any subject possible. Even if the question at hand has absolutely no bearing on my current work, sometimes the best way to procrastinate is to dive right into someone else’s discussion and see what they’re talking about. Usually, that new piece of knowledge sparks something new and the inspiration to continue writing returns.
2. Not feeling alone in my writing endeavors
Writing can get lonely. Like, really really lonely. And unless you’re fortunate enough to be a part of an amazing writing group or have friends/family with patience to rival the Pope, there’s a good chance most of your writing is kept bottled up. But not in November! For one whole month, I’m in the company of thousands of other writers, all tap-tapping away at their keyboards and bursting with thoughts and stories. I have found my people. You have found them now too. Join us.
3. The energy from the community
The NaNo community is quite possibly the most energetic and positive group I’ve ever been a part of (well, during the months of September through November). No question I ask is too small or stupid, no request for support and hugs too petty or insignificant. Time and time again the community shouts it loud and clear-We got your back. And in return, I got theirs.
5. The dozens of plot bunnies I adopt
In case you hadn’t noticed, I love bunnies. And NaNo is absolutely full of them (the plotting-sort anyway). Not only is there an entire section of the forum dedicated to the adoption of brand new, adorable and enticing bunnies, but they’re literally hopping everywhere you look. Even if you don’t go looking for them they somehow manage to pop up. Take a stroll through a genre forum you don’t normally write in and the dozens of questions and discussions are sure to get something knocking about in your brain. An interesting name, a city or a mythical creature, all it takes is a spark!
5. The boost of support that my novel is worth it
As difficult as it is to believe, sometimes I can get pretty self-conscious about my work. I know, I’m amazing and my writing is godly, but in the end, I’m still only human(like). My dialogue sounds cheesy, scenes are choppy and disjointed and I can never remember what color hair anyone has, and after a while, I start to wonder if any of my efforts are even worth it at all. Who really cares? For all my time and effort, is anyone even going to read this thing? But then I look up at the NaNoWriMo tagline and I get my answer: The world needs your novel. You got that? THE WORLD.
6. My final project
Yup. The whole reason I even join NaNo to begin with and the true spirit of the entire event-writing! Whether or not I win, NaNo propels me to push myself, focus and WRITE. And at the end of the month, whatever number of words I wind up is always a thrill. Knowing that I have created something that wasn’t there before is what makes the entire month worth it. My novels and my ideas are what keep me going, and NaNo rejuvenates my passion in a way that is completely unique.
So, did that help at all? A little? Or are you still really, really, really (REALLY) sick of NaNoWriMo? Yeah. I hear you. But we’re almost to the end, and our sweet, poor little brains can take a well-deserved rest and we can get back to our regularly scheduled NaNo-less lives. We’ll get through this. I swear. Please don’t leave me.
How is NaNoWriMo going for you? Is your brain also melting out your ears? Are you ready for November to finally be done and over?