A Call to Arms

For many writers, November is a very important month.  It is a time when they put aside their competing work and obligations and write like mad.  November 1st through 30th is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month.  It is a challenge issued by http://www.nanowrimo.org/ to write a novel, or 50,000 words, in one month.  Though this particular challenge has been around since 1999 and I have known about it for the last 4 or 5 years, I have never once attempted it.

My reasons have been many.  I have a day job.  I have a family.  I have a toddler.  I do not ever write anything straight through.  I am working on 3 novels, 2 short stories, occasional entertainment reviews, occasional fan fiction, blog entries and who knows what else at any given time.  My method of writing means I don’t have much chance of finishing one thing in a month, no matter how hard I work.  So, deciding I had already been disqualified, I gave up before I even began.

And then I received my subscribed email to writer and writing teacher Lisa Romeo’s blog, Lisa Romeo Writes.  If you don’t subscribe to this blog and you are a writer, do it – her insights are invaluable.  In her October 23rd blog entry, Lisa had a guest blogger, writer Liz Sheffield, who discussed how doing NaNoWriMo despite her initial belief that she couldn’t accomplish the task helped her to silence her inner critics.  The essay was inspiring, but it was Lisa’s note at the end that got me going.

You needn’t write a novel during the 30 days; it’s also a great way to generate around 50,000 words towards any manuscript or writing project, keep track of your progress, and commit to a regular writing practice. For the math-challenged, 50K words in a month works out to about 1,670 words per day.

Suddenly I felt liberated.  I didn’t have to work on one project and, oddly, when broken down to 1,670 words a day, it didn’t seem so bad.  It may seem like common sense, but suddenly all of my excuses were gone.  And they became just that – excuses.  Ways of keeping myself from making a great deal of progress.

So I’m shrugging them off, and I’m asking you to come with me.  Last year, around this time, I joined Weight Watchers and blasted my progress all over every social network I had access to at the time. Having my friends and family cheering for me kept me honest with myself and I ended up taking off and keeping off 50 pounds.  Now, I’m determined to slough off the weight of all of my excuses and I’m asking you to help me out.

Weekly throughout the month of November, I will be posting updates tracking my writing totals to this blog in an effort to police myself, in an effort to keep myself honest and committed to this goal. Please feel free to join me.  If you are a writer, post your totals here too so we can all offer encouragement as well – the goal is to make a huge impact on the way we handle the work we love and to show ourselves that we can do whatever we set our minds to.

Are you in?

10 thoughts on “A Call to Arms

  1. Yeah…sorry…no I won’t be taking part. I’m not in the frame of mind or spirit to take on any challenge that may result in guilt…I live with enough constant guilt as it is; I have no interest in adding to it. But ‘yay’ you for taking this on.

    1. Oh, I’m sorry to hear that honey! You don’t need to feel writing related guilt. Some people just take more time to put their thoughts together, which is fine. Art doesn’t have rules. It’s just art and it comes to us in its own time.

    1. Well, the rules of NaNoWriMo are that you write one novel over the 30 day period. But, seeing as how my style is a little more all over the place than that, I plan to work on all of my projects a little bit, until I amass 50,000 words.

  2. What a lovely tribute – I am so very pleased that Liz’s post about NaNoWriMo inspired you and put you into action; and that you find my blog of value. Now you are one of the writers I’ll be thinking about every day till November ends! Good luck and may the words fly.

    1. Thank you so much for your support! This wouldn’t be the first time one of your blogs have inspired me, although this is the first time I’m writing about it. Thank you for coming here, reading my blog and taking the time to comment. And now I’m flailing around like an idiot because you commented on my blog. 🙂

  3. Yay for liberation and for shrugging off the excuses! So glad that you found the post inspiring and that Lisa’s comments helped get you going. Looking forward to reading more here about how it’s going for you.

    1. Thank you so much for getting me motivated to NaNo! This has been an incredible journey and it’s only been a week. I’m learning so much about my writing and I have you and Lisa to thank for it! I’m so glad you chose to share your experience with Lisa’s readers! And thank you for coming to visit and cheering me on through this process!

  4. Good Luck Justine. I am confident that you will complete this task. What makes me prouder is knowing that regardless of how it actually pans out, you will have done your very best. Hit it hard kiddo. —- > DAD

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