I’ve read several times that the greatest tool for getting a project finished is to have a hard and fast deadline. I’ve had several writing projects that I’ve either just started or been sitting on for a while, and I figured that having a nice deadline would help me actually finish one.
To that end, I’ve joined National Novel Writing Month this year. For those who have never heard of NaNoWriMo, it is an international event held each November, where aspiring (and established) writers put aside all of their writing inhibitions and aim to write a 50 000 word novel in 30 days. That’s 1667 words, every day, for a month. There is a well-established community of writers who love to help people on their way, pep talks by professional authors, and games and events throughout the month. It is a caffeine-driven month of madness that can end with the jubilation of a finished novel, or the bitter taste of failure.
I tried last year, and ended up with the latter of those two outcomes. Unfortunately, November is rather a busy time for students, and my commitments for drama ministry, paper writing, and projects to finish meant that I only got about 6500 words or so written before I had to pack it in. I still have that draft, and plan to go back and finish it some day, but not just now.
This year, I’ve started a new project. An adventure novel. I’m telling all of you this because having other people know about my commitment to writing 50 000 words this month ups the stakes. It may be what I need to push through to finish by the end of November. So, I’m hereby giving all of you permission to bug me, berate me, and cheer me on as I take on the Herculean task of writing a novel (in addition to writing a blog and several drama pieces for Christmas church drama…I’m a little crazy, I know).
I’ve spoken before about the value of ritual and discipline in the lives of Christians and artists. This is me putting that into practice. If any one wants to join me, it’s not too late. You’ve just missed 2.5 days of writing, leaving you 27.5 left to get out that masterpiece. And if you aren’t a writer, and don’t want to be, I hope you can find some time each day to work on your craft. I will be writing over my lunch hour this month, with another couple-hour session another day each week. I’m hoping this will cement a discipline for writing that I can carry over into my other work and projects in the future.
Here’s to a crazy month of creative surges and manic productivity!