An editorial I wrote that originally appeared in The Outlook weekly newspaper.
As I sit to write this, I have written over 19,000 words since November 1.
For the better part of a decade, the month of November has been dedicated to writing. The month has been called National Novel Writing Month, or as it has been often called NaNoWriMo. Individuals across the globe participate in this writing challenge to put down fifty thousand words that will eventually become a novel. Some make it, some don’t and some manage to put down well more than fifty thousand words.
There’s a large group here in Saskatchewan that takes part every year. I’ve been taking part since 2007, though last year was the first year I actually hit the fifty thousand word mark. There was one writer in the Lake Diefenbaker region who wrote well over one hundred and thirty thousand words. This person was from Beechy, and the name might be familiar to some. T.L. Wiens is the author of Making the Bitter Sweet and Where a Little Rain Comes Down. To be able to write that much in one month is impressive. I thought I was doing well with my fifty six thousand at the end of last year’s event.
NaNoWriMo is open to anyone and everyone, there’s no age limit, both men and women take part, and any genre is welcomed, as long as you are writing. Science fiction, fantasy, drama, comedy, even non-fiction works are allowed, as long as you’re writing. As long as you’re putting one word after the other in a goal to reach fifty thousand words for the month of November.
It’s a lot of work, and I know there are a few people in the Lake Diefenbaker region who are taking part in this event. There will be times when doubt will creep in, and you feel like giving up. Try not to. And if you don’t manage to write fifty thousand words, it’s not the end of the world. You tried your hardest. Because here’s the cold hard truth about it; writing isn’t easy. It’s actually very, very difficult. Sure, you’re not using muscles like you would when doing a physical activity, but you are working to produce something. You have to plan it, organize it and then write it all out. It takes time, and there are going to be spots along the way where it may take its toll.
You just have to remind yourself, keep putting down one word at a time. That’s one of the philosophies of NaNoWriMo; quantity not quality. We’re not writing Shakespearian plays in the first stab. We’re just writing. Making the words pretty and making the sentences make sense, that all comes later, after the goal of fifty thousand is achieved.
It’s already half way through the month of November, and for those who are writing, they may be hitting panic mode. But here’s something to think about. If you’ve been writing, then you’ve been contributing to a global total word count that is over 1 billion words. Of those 1 billion words, almost 2 million of them were written by Saskatchewan writers. That’s a lot of words, and if one of those contributors is from the Lake Diefenbaker region, then you’re part of this provincial and global experience. You just have to keep it up and keep moving forward.
One word at a time.
- NaNoWriMo: It’s All Right To Take Your Time (evilnymphstuff.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo Tips (cristianmihai.net)
- NaNoWriMo 2012: CHECK! (crimsonleague.com)
- NaNoWriMo 2012 (orangeatom.wordpress.com)