As I am writing this post, it is still October 31st. However, when it hits the world wide web, it will be November 1st. Ah, November 1st, the day that strikes fear and excitement and anticipation in the hearts of NaNoWriMo writers (or Wrimos) everywhere.
Throughout the month, I will be posting updates on my NaNoWriMo progress. At the very least, I intend to write weekly updates. However, if I manage to scrape up a surprising amount of free time (doubtful), I will update more frequently.
During these updates, I’ll report my word count and state of mind, share the motivation and inspiration that kept me going, and also tell you about my biggest triumphs and setbacks.
For now, here is how I’m feeling about the impending NaNoWriMo 2014:
I feel like NaNoWriMo is a creepy old man hovering over my shoulder and breathing hot coffee breath on my throat. I’ve been so confident and logical all October, but now that the hour is near, the nerves are setting in. However, I’m also excited. Like, really, really excited.
When I was in university, I had this same stomach-twisting sensation whenever I had a long essay to write. As I brainstormed the essay, I knew my ideas were great. Then, when it was time to sit down and write, I would get a little sick feeling and a little nervous. Especially when I procrastinated — which was more often than I like to admit. Once I finally forced myself to the keyboard, I would trudge through the organizational process, and then, slowly but surely, I would pick up speed and blaze through my essay. When it was done, I would blink and scroll through the pages, like I was waking up from a trance. Then, I would turn it in to my professor and everything would be fine.
That’s what I’m hoping NaNoWriMo will be like for me. Given this very specific knot just behind my belly button, I think I’m in good shape.
However, NaNoWriMo holds something for me that university papers never did. You see, now that I’m out of university, I feel a bit aimless. I have decided to wait a year or two before graduate school, because I’m not interested in rushing into an MFA program just yet. I have a good job with benefits and all that real-world jazz, but it is not anywhere near the field I want to be in for my career. The one thing I do know is that I want to get out of my cubicle and into a career as a full-time writer. And trust me, I know that this will probably take a good five years to accomplish. Once I start, that is.
And that’s why NaNoWriMo is so important. Because if I can learn to make creativity a priority and teach my loved ones to take my writing seriously this month, I can continue that pattern on a regular basis. NaNoWriMo is my bootcamp, my two-a-days (for anyone who did a horrible high school sport). The pace is more rigorous, but it is the brutal beginning that will whip me into shape for the years ahead. I’ve heard more than one author on the podcasts I frequent credit their true beginnings to NaNoWriMo.
Why not me, too?
The sooner I get started, the sooner I realize my dreams. It starts with a hastily drafted — but complete — manuscript.
It starts today.
How are you feeling about NaNoWriMo this year? Feel free to share your motivations, fears, and encouragement below!