Taryn brought up an excellent point this morning. National Novel Writing Month begins tomorrow! Aack! And, like, I'm signed up!
Taryn has planned her novel. Excellent! You're allowed to do that. You are not, however, allowed to have already begun writing the novel. You begin writing no sooner than November 1, and by November 30 you have at least a 50,000 word manuscript. That's the objective. Well, that's one objective. Another--and probably the main one for many people--is to prove to yourself that you can actually write a novel. To do it in thirty days is darned impressive.
If you're able to accomplish this, you WIN. There can be as many winners as there are entrants. You are not competing against someone else. You are competing against time, I suppose. And the possible frittering away of time (say, email). You are also competing against doubt. Yours, and that of anyone who thinks you can't write a novel. On November 30 you can print out your completion certificate and say, "Hey, I did this thing!" Not sure how many people will be impressed by that, but as I recall when I WON the first time, I sure did print it and I sure did show it to some people.
NaNo HQ sends a weekly pick-me-up email. These are not Time Fritters. These are important Positive Reinforcement. You can also read lots of encouraging stuff on their website, and read what other NaNo participants are doing. You can even meet up with other NaNo'ers in person if you want to. For me, though, the main thing I keep in front of me is this: 1667. The number of words I need to write per day in order to win. This means that if I'm going to have a day with family, away from the laptop on Thanksgiving and that following Saturday (which I am), I'd better do some extra words somewhere along the way.
You can spend money doing this, but it's optional. They do raise money for literacy charities, and to support the website, etc. Each year I donate something. You can also buy stuff. They have a store with t-shirts, mugs, posters, etc. I like the typewriter poster, although it freaks me out a bit that there are no letters on the keys. I touch-type, but still, that looks almost scary. Okay, yes, I'm easily frightened.
But hey, I'm completely jazzed about NaNo! I'm signed up, and I've got time to do it. I never had the time before, but you know what? I did it anyway. So can you, I bet. I hope you'll want to check it out: National Novel Writing Month.
I said I was going to talk about my real-life Kate today. Well, she got bumped by NaNo. Lucky girl. Happy Birthday! (And she isn't really Kate. She just has that soft southern drawl like Kate.)