Months ago, when we were planning our Fall/Winter blog roster, it was pointed out that we should start planning for NaNoWriMo early this year. “Let’s not leave this until November,” we said. “Let’s get everyone on board in October! Then we’ll be well-prepared for National Novel Writing Month!” after all, committing to writing 50,000 words in a month can take some planning ahead: clear that schedule, get your Christmas shopping done early, avoid signing up for any time-consuming evening classes or taking on complex sewing projects. This is the month we’re going to write novels!
When would be a good time for a NaNoWriMo post? October 16, of course—that gives us two whole weeks to get ready before the novel writing extravaganza begins. And, since we were planning this all out in August, this also gave me ample time to write that NaNoWriMo post. Prep a novel-writing post within the next 3 months? Piece of cake! I thought.
And that’s when really exciting, non-blogging-related things began to happen. We signed dozens of absolute manuscript gems. Our pre-Christmas publishing season swept us up in its hungry maw like a deep-sea monster of Melvillian proportions. Coordinating editing, picking out attractive cover designs, and balancing marketing strategies swept the idea of blogging out to sea. At home, the storm continued in a rather delightful frenzy of catering meetings, centerpiece designing, favour making and dress shopping (did I mention I’m getting married next summer?), and then on top of it all I decided this would be a really good time to actually read that stack of novels I scooped up from a used book sale in July, sign up for more volunteer work, take up badminton lessons, hit the gym 3 times a week like I always intend to, and finally learn how to make a fancy tailored blazer via a fantastic online course I stumbled upon.
Suddenly, it was 8am on October 16. Did I have a NaNoWriMo blog post? I did not. Did I have any idea what I would be writing for NaNoWriMo, or if I could even fit it in on top of all this badminton-and-blazer nonsense? Hah!
The point I’m getting at is not that I’m woefully unprepared this morning (for all that the evidence does lead in this direction). This is really what NaNoWriMo is all about. For the vast majority of us, there isn’t ever going to be an ideal time to begin a novel (or, apparently, a novel-themed blog post): just when the summer soirees die down, the tidal wave of everything-you-put-off-until-autumn crashes down on you. And when that’s done with, the everything-you-put-off-until-winter has already collided with the everything-you-planned-on-doing-in-spring, plus a major life change here or there. One aspect of your life reaches equilibrium just as another is thrown severely off balance. I used to get the majority of my novel writing done in the week or so of Christmas holidays I got…and then high school ended. But novel writing never really ends, and the opportunity is there, if you can find a way to work for it.
NaNoWriMo serves as a breakwater to protect against the ever-rushing waves of things-other-than-writing. Important things; necessary things; awful things and wonderful things—things that, 11 months of the year, may be allowed to swamp all your novel-writing aspirations. But for one month, all this is set aside. Perhaps, when November ends, you’ll discover you’ve created a habit: that you ¬can rearrange your schedule to keep hammering out 1666 words every day. Maybe the things-other-than-writing wave will sweep you away again—but, hey, you’ll have a month’s worth of writing more than you did in October!
So, remember, NaNoWriMo is mere weeks away. Are you ready?
Now get NaNoWriMo-ready with these tips from Erin E.M. Hatton!
Amy Groening is a project manager at Word Alive Press. She is a passionate storyteller with experience in blogging, newspaper reportage, and creative writing. She holds an Honours degree in English Literature and is happy to be working in an industry where she can see other writers’ dreams come to life. She enjoys many creative pursuits, including sewing, sculpture and painting, and spends an embarrassingly large amount of time at home taking photos of her cat committing random acts of feline crime.