Every year, by the end of November, I find myself sitting on a mountain of words—more than 50,000 of them, thanks to the magic of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
What are you supposed to do with all those words?
That should be the easy part, at least in theory. The geniuses behind NaNoWriMo figure that if you make it through the challenge successfully, then you have the rough draft of a full novel, ready to be cleaned up and polished (like the turd it likely is!).
Of course, the reality is that 50,000 words would be a VERY short novel, and I’m nothing if not longwinded, so the truth of the matter is that what I have here at the end of November is, maybe, two-thirds of a novel (more like half, if I’m being honest).
I’m also left with a grueling case of carpal tunnel syndrome and an aversion to writing in all its forms, after doing almost nothing BUT writing for a month.
The last thing I want to do right now is keep going with this book and these characters (all of whom I hate at this point, which makes me understand exactly what George R. R. Martin is thinking when he systematically kills off all those Game of Thrones characters …).
It’s kind of like spending a week with a close friend, stuck in a hotel room because you made the tragic error of choosing the Caribbean resort during hurricane season: By the end of that week, you pretty much want to kill her—or at the very least, never see her again.
That’s how I feel about writing: I. Never. Want. To. Do. It. Again.
But the middle of next month, when I’m busy wrapping gifts and mailing Christmas cards and stressing out over the holiday menu, writing will start (again) to look like the escape it’s supposed to be.
And then I’ll go back—little by little. I’ll eke out a sentence a day, a paragraph here and there, until the drive to create seizes me again and I have no choice but to finish what I started here in November.
And then? I’ll have a novel on my hands.
So, thank you, NaNoWriMo. I’ll see you next year.