Three Thoughts: Who participates in #NaNoWriMo ?

I'm posting for 60 days straight, leading up to my early December birthday, and I'm making the time to write on behalf of slain UCC Professor and aspiring novelist, Larry Levine.

In addition to Halloween haunting the calendar this time of year, most of us in the States end Daylight Savings Time by moving our clocks back an hour, and a loyal group of writing fanatics stock up on coffee, tea, or Red Bull in preparation for a month of insanity: the National Novel Writing in a Month contest or affectionately, NaNoWriMo, which runs the month of November. 

I know several who've successfully participated - ie, submitted 50,000 words on or before November 30 - and in fact, I've flirted with the IDEA of the contest myself a few times. But never participated for reasons outlined below.

If you're a writer or aspiring novelist, I believe the benefits are obvious - it's a wonderful mechanism to force the consistent generation of words on the page. Every day. Day after day. The word count required also silences the inner critic. There's simply not time for revision or editing. Instead, NaNoWriMo is the perfect excuse to get that oft-mentioned 'shitty first draft' from brain to page. 

With all this goodness to gain, why haven't I participated, you ask? Especially as I identify myself as 'aspiring novelist Ben Hess' in every Story Geometry podcast? Here' are three thoughts on the profile of successful NaNoWriMo participants ... or said differently, my excuses for not diving in:

  • Those gainfully employed or retired have their NaNoWriMo patron. On the flip side, us freelancers take work when offered, and there's often little work in December due to holidays. So unless we've had a fantastic January - October, most of us can't afford to take off both November AND December. Which also means that January's slow since projects weren't being chased since October. 
  • Those with a gainfully employed or retired spouse or partner AND who have reached an agreement with said partner before November 1 regarding late nights, ill temper, and a fair amount of cursing during the month are in good shape. I don't have one of those. (spouse / partner types ... the temper and profanity, however, are not a problem.)
  • Those with without kids are in great shape. Those with kids under your roof between the ages of 1 and 18 have to think long and hard about taking the hours and hours of screen time away from parenting to participate. And see above re: spouse and full-time employment. 

This is my first November as an Empty Nester, so one of my constraints is no longer an issue. The others are in works in progress. Hmmm ... maybe I've found my excuse to actually use Tinder?? 

I shudder at the thought, but it's all for the sake of art, write? Er, right?

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