I know I usually post a book review on Wednesdays, and I’m not planning to eliminate that for the month of November, but today has a special significance for writers across the globe I couldn’t go without mentioning. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, November 1st signifies the beginning of a creative outpouring named the National Novel Writing Month (NaNo), though it’s long gone international in scope.
Creativity has been hard for a lot of writers this year, and I count myself in that number for the general reasons and specific ones. However, while I might not be able to keep up with the word count in 2017, I have already begun writing. I’m hardwired to write in November at this point, no matter what obstacles I face.
NaNo has become an unbreakable habit. I wrote my second indie novel, Shafter, during NaNo, taking a long short story and finally giving it the length it needed to stretch. Sure, there were many years of editing and tweaking before it saw release, but if not for NaNo, there’s a good chance it would still be a short story grumbling at the back of my mind because I didn’t flesh it out as it needed. Nor would Trainee exist, or any of the future novels in the Seeds Among the Stars universe.
The idea for Samantha Crill’s story had been in my idea pile for years before NaNo brought Secrets (book one of The Steamship Chronicles) to life. It took the need for a new story, and one I could complete in a single month, to get it out of the clutter of ideas and into my readers’ hands. A good number of the novels in The Steamship Chronicles were written one November or another, and my NaNo this year is a bit of a rebellion because I need to finish book 6 before I can start on my new, secret project.
I’ve had years where I planned to do something else with my November, but had an idea grab hold and refuse to let go just in time for NaNo. I’ve both finished with weeks to spare and plugged in my word count in the last hour. I’ve met new friends through the local events, many of whom have become lifetime friends despite moving states. Even the years when I’ve done my NaNo largely in isolation, the creative outpouring was almost a tangible support system.
Besides, NaNo makes a great excuse for hanging out in coffee shops when a change of scenery is necessary *wink*.
Before this year, I can safely say I never needed any outside prodding to write. I told stories before I could write, and have short stories and even picture books from when I was about seven. NaNo gives some people the necessary push, but it’s so much more than that. Writing is an isolated existence. It’s nose to the grindstone when everyone around you is out doing stuff, having fun, and grumbling because you don’t have the time.
NaNo makes writing a community event. It reminds us not just that there are others out there striving to put words to paper, but also how big and broad the writing community is. We look for things that can bring us together as a world, as a species. This is one of them. We might not be writing in the same genre, or even the same kind of work, much less in the same language, but for all of its differences, at the heart, we’re pouring out our feelings, experiences, thoughts, and dreams in a form meant not for hoarding, but to share.
So, whether you are a writer and need that push to work, you know a writer who would appreciate a word of encouragement, or you’re a reader who just wants to make sure more books are written to feed your voracious hunger, NaNo makes the month of November significant in a powerful, creative, ageless, and global way. Here’s to words and those who corral them into a readable form. Let us all make our way successfully (whether in November or beyond) to that universal writer’s goal…