#NaNoWriMo NoMo?

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I was doing great. I’d been keeping up with my word count. I’d created nine chapters, and nearly 25,000 words. I was almost halfway there.

And then, I picked the worst possible time to change jobs. Right in the middle of National Novel Writing Month, I packed up my belongings into a cardboard box, and made the move to another software company, where I’d have the opportunity to stretch my legs, so to speak, and expand upon my existing skills as a quality assurance analyst, to climb the corporate ladder.

Now don’t get me wrong… this was absolutely the right move career-wise, and after just the first 5 days, I’ve already been happier with my job than I’ve been in the last 5 years.

But the excitement and anticipation of the new job had completely overshadowed my other work. I didn’t even begin to think about the different ways my novel would suffer when I took on this new position. The added drive time to the swanky new office downtown has more than tripled my daily commute, meaning more time on the road, and less time spent with my family. And more importantly, my characters. Spending eight hours a day training or reading over required documentation has eaten into the spare time I had between projects at my old job, where I could easily kill 30 to 45 minutes working on my next chapter.

Part of me feels as though I have failed. After so much progress, my novel screeched to a halt last week. And I’d been so busy, that I hadn’t even noticed. Yesterday, I pulled out the NaNoWriMo calendar I’d been using to keep up with my daily word counts, and stared at a blank row, suddenly realizing that I hadn’t written a single thing in the five days since I started the new job.

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#NaNoWriMo: 50k Words or Bust!

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For the uninitiated of you, the insanity that is NaNoWriMo, or ‘National Novel Writer’s Month’ is upon us. The goal – to complete a fifty-thousand word novel in thirty days, (though to be honest 50k words, while impressive, is still kinda short for a novel… falls more along the lines of a novella, but I digress.)

50,000 words, you can’t be serious?!

It’s not as bad as it seems. As long as you stick with it. The writing plan breaks the somewhat overwhelming task down into a much more manageable 1,667 words per day. That’s not to say those 1,667 are easy by any stretch, especially if, God forbid, you miss a day. Then that word count catches up, and you quickly feel as though the hole you’re trying to climb out of just keeps getting deeper and deeper.

And then there’s the inevitable antagonist of all writers… Writer’s block. I’ve got stories I’ve been working on for a couple years that I’ve just hit a brick wall on, and have yet to complete. There’s days where it feels like pulling teeth to get a couple hundred words on a page, let alone a couple thousand.

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But, as the old adage goes, “Writers write”. So you just push through, and keep writing. Even if it sucks, and is barely coherent, you keep writing. Because eventually, you’ll get from point A to point B, and some little spark will ignite, and you’ll be off again. And lets be honest, the first draft doesn’t have to be great. That’s what re-writes and editing are for. Besides, good or bad, ya gotta get the words on paper before any other magic can happen.

The inaugural event took place in 1999, in the San Francisco Bay Area, with only 21 participants. This year, the 17th annual NaNoWriMo, there are literally hundreds of thousands of people from all around the globe rising up to the challenge. And social media, the other great productivity killer, is overrun with references to the hashtag, #NaNoWriMo.

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