November is National Novel-Writing month and for those of you who follow this blog regularly (or write yourselves), you know what’s coming…. NaNoWriMo, the month-long writing challenge. There will be plenty of people following the rules to a “t”, some who scan the FAQs and forums for guidance (you legalists you), and those who choose to be rebels.
The folks at NaNoWriMo define a “rebel” as someone who finds creative ways to reach the 50,000 word goal during the month of November. These paths deviate from the standard rules (but not so far as to allow 50 pictures instead of 50k words…). Forum leaders state upfront that the purpose of NaNoWriMo is to be a self-challenge.
I’m sitting here overlooking the concrete and glass edifices of the city and wondering whether choosing to break the rules, to be a rebel, may have something to offer for writers thinking outside the box.
Most people readily acknowledge that the crap that’s produced by November 30th isn’t publishable in its current form. One of the big draws of NaNoWriMo is the camaraderie of 300,000+ other writers globally working towards the same goal as you in the same timeframe: 50,000 words in 30 days. Does it really matter where those words are placed?
What if as a writer, we chose to embrace NaNoWriMo as an opportunity to revise our work? Or to complete unfinished work?
I have several half-finished novels in my drawers at home. It’s not really a matter of the ideas themselves being bad but the timing wasn’t right, or my experience as a writer wasn’t quite “there” to make the magic happen.
Sometimes the best thing a writer can do is lay aside their work for a season and coming back, experience it through new eyes. “Wow, did I write that?” During that time away, we have (hopefully) grown as a writer. Maybe now, we can do the 2nd draft better. Maybe now, we’ve stewed enough on that plot point to know how to push past the muggy middles and reach that finish line — in more ways than one.
So, by now, a good number of participants have figured out if they’re going to be seat-pantsters or at least have their ducks in a row (err… outlines that is). My question to you is this:
What if you don’t need to start one-more project? One more doorstop for your apartment better left saved for later, when you’ve grown more, experienced more, accomplished more. What if what we really need to be is a rebel?
Because maybe, just maybe, for lifelong procrastinators like me, writing a new novel isn’t nearly as hard as finishing. One. Already.
Think about it.