Smell that? It's the smell of fear... not of Halloween's ghosts and goblins... not of people realizing that Christmas is fast upon them... not of those who woke with a start wondering if this is the weekend they're supposed to fall back... but of hopeful writers all over the world realizing that November is almost here and with it the annual mad dash to 50,000 words that they, we, can say comprise our novel for 2011.
NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. It's about racing to finish something. It's about writers who say, "One day..." and then that day never comes. It's about trying to do something you never thought you could do. It's about figuring out that one of the biggest obstacles we, as creative people, face is ourselves.
We find the time. We make the time. We prioritize like we've never done before. We plan while walking, while parking, while raking or cooking. We eat, drink, and breath this project in an almost obsessive way. And, if we stick to it, we finish something. It might not be good. Hell, it probably isn't good, but that's not the point really is it? We finish something we have, in the past, not even started because we weren't ready, were too busy, didn't have time for... blah blah blah. The power of NaNoWriMo is, for me, the confidence it gives to me that even if I'm not writing The Great American Novel I am able to write something that long. I'm able to find the time. I'm able to prioritize. I'm able to write through the writer's block or the dry spell or the headache and bad mood. I'm able to do it if I really want to.
Out there are a whole lot of people who are today looking at their computers, their notes & outlines, their blank notes & outlines, their stack of "how to write" books that they never quite got past Chapter One. In most of them is the kind of excitement they used to feel a few days before Christmas. That nervous energy that's building is making them smile for no reason as they stare out the window and can't wait for November 1st when they can sit down and write.
It's an exciting time. I'm really looking forward to it.
(This was originally posted over on Google+)