Starting at midnight, when the Calendar flipped over to November, it marked the beginning of the ‘National Novel Writing Month’. I’m not sure how long this tradition has been going on, I think it dates back to the late 90’s. And it’s not National, it’s World Wide now.
I was thinking of participating this year, especially as I just found an outline for a novel I thought I lost, but I decided against it. Really, I want to use this time to edit my short story collection and possibly ‘Aftermarket Soul’, get that beast ready to face the public.
So my goal is to use the energy and inspiration from the NaNo participants to get me through my edits. But as midnight started to strike in the different time zones, the excitement really was palpable. It’s a sort of literary marathon I suppose. The goal is 50,000 words in a month, a rough draft of a novel in 30 days. Really, it’s not too much, it comes to 1667 words a day, which, when I know where I’m going, is maybe 45 minutes of typing.
It is a great participatory event that gets people writing who wouldn’t otherwise write, get’s people to finish a novel that they otherwise wouldn’t. Tonight I am happy to cheer from the side and tell them all to ‘Keep typing! Don’t look back! Don’t edit, and Don’t blink!’ I’m actually having a whole lot of fun encouraging them to keep going.
A few people, of course, have to up the ante. I know of a few who are pushing for 50,000 words in 5 days. Some are pushing up their personal goal, 150,000 words for the month.
Someone figured out that it would be 2942 Haikus I would have to write to get to 50,000 words. But that wasn’t ridiculous enough for me. I announced that my NaNo project would be to rewrite James Joyce’s experimental ‘masterpiece’ novel ‘Finnegan’s Wake’ in Haiku form.
And I got a few down before I fell out of my chair laughing in a chaotic fit of self-satisfaction.
river run past Eve
and Adams, from swerve of
Shore to bend of bay
the fall: ba-ba-ba-
Yes, I do have a very bent and twisted sense of humor, I think I was exposed to Monty Python at too young an age, but this is some of the best fun I’ve had in ages.
But it’s harmless fun, I’m not trying to demean anyone or the mission. I think it’s a great event to get people writing, and I will continue to cheer everyone on as I trudge through my edits. I hope everyone achieves their goal, as I said a few thousand words a day really is not that much.
Keep typing friends! And I hope next November that I may join you.
© Robert Emmett McWhorter