Just before midnight last night, I was rushing to finish up an October newsletter so it would indeed be an October newsletter. My mind, however, kept drifting to the bottom corner of my monitor that told me Nanowrimo would be officially beginning in my time zone in a matter of minutes.
Why are some of us so excited about the month of writing 50,000 words when we know many times during the month that quest will become torture? Is it the adrenaline? The competition? Or the drive to be able to put up that "Nanowrimo Winner" logo at the end that makes us feel accomplished?
By the start of my fourth year of being a Wrimo, I believe it's not any of the above. Okay, maybe it's a bit of all of the above, but more than that, it's that we are very driven beings who appreciate the sacrifices that must be made for art and who know that art is worth the sacrifice, as is anything worth truly having. Without the sacrifice, without the personal effort to -- in the Army's words -- be all you can be, there isn't much meaning in anything that we have. It's the proving to ourselves that we can do it, that we care enough about our words to force them out when they don't want to come.
Our words are powerful, indeed. They are powerful to us and, as writers, we appreciate how powerful they can be to others. If you need to truly understand the power, take November to give it a try. You don't have to be a writer or want to be a writer, but to learn something you may not learn in any other way, join Nanowrimo and vow to write a story ... a 50,000 word story, in 30 days.
Don't worry about sentence structure or grammar or spelling. Don't be concerned if you don't know what to write. Take the plunge. Name a character. Put him, her, or it in a place. And see where that character takes you.
Writing an average of 1,667 words a day is much like walking a straight line after two days of not sleeping. You'll likely step off course now and then. You likely won't always be sure what you're writing or even how close you are to the line you're aiming to tread. But when you get to the end, you have more than 50,000 words. You have a lesson in passion, in determination, in mindset, and in sacrifice. You have a curious blend of art and power and creativity and control and lack of control. And you have something concrete to show for it. It may not be worth showing to anyone else in the world, and you don't need to. You don't even need to tell anyone you're doing it. But whatever you have, it's truly yours.
The race is on. Join as at Nanowrimo.org