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Saturday, October 31, 2009

NaNoWriMo 2009: The Road to a Nervous Breakdown

What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? It's thirty days and nights of literary abandon accompanied by paralyzing fear and an overwhelming urge to give up writing all together. Before you even get started....

Nauseating feelings and gut-wrenching anxiety aside, NaNoWriMo is actually the ultimate writer's challenge.

THE GOAL: Write a novel in a month.

A successful attempt is 50,000 words, which breaks down to 1,667 words per day. That's 69.5 words per hour or roughly one word per minute. Easy, right? Wrong, unless you're a recluse that shuns all creature comforts and human contact. 

THE SACRIFICE: Most anything that's not an absolute necessity in your life.

Movies, shopping, outings with friends, and even those Starbucks macchiatos you love so dearly are out of the question. After all, that's 15 minutes you could spend writing. Favorite TV shows, leisurely reading, and mid-afternoon naps. You can kiss those goodbye too.

And if you manage to avoid all of the extras life and put 25K down, things will become more difficult. Somewhere amidst the madness the big ticket items will become negotiable. Fire sale. Everything must go. This means personal hygiene, valuable hours of sleep, every personal relationship you've ever had, and, of course, your sanity.

But it's worth it right?

THE PEP SQUAD: Well, it's about as useless as cheerleaders for the chess team.

Writing buddies. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the gesture and the sentiment behind it. I friend all of these other people who are attempting to write a literary masterpiece of their own in 30 days. (Good luck with that by the way. I'll be happy if I can read what I wrote without a translator when this is over.)

Then my "buddies," who I may or may not actually know, write and their word count appears in on my NaNo account site, thus producing Word Count Envy. Great. Thanks. I needed an inferiority complex as I'm tackling the impossible.

THE PAYOFF: Empty hands and a warmed heart.
That's right. There's no prize counter, nowhere to cash in your words. Your 50K won't so much as buy you a teddy bear to cry with after the carnage comes to an end. Instead you get pride, a sense of accomplishment, and, oh yeah, a completed novel. (If it makes any sense by the time you're done with it.)

I say, what the hell? I'm doing it. Bring the pain.

To find out more about NaNoWriMo, visit http://www.nanowrimo.org/.

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