Claire McEwen's Blog

National Novel Writing Month and Me

Are you familiar with National Novel Writing Month? It’s a chance to push yourself to write 50,000 words of your novel in one month. It takes place every November, which makes absolutely no sense. November is a busy month. And it only has 30 days! 

But I think the fact that NaNoWriMo (as those of us in the know call it) is set in November, a totally inconvenient month, is exactly the point. There is never a convenient time to write a book. We have jobs and chores. We need to cook and exercise and love on our families, friends, and pets. So when do we have time to write a novel?

The truth is, we have to make the time. Whether it’s in the car when our kids are at a class, (that’s where you’ll find me every Tuesday and Thursday at 4:30) or after they go to bed, or early in the morning (me again) we have to make the time to write the stories of our hearts. And yes, this requires some sacrifices. I’ve missed some birthday parties and other events in my child’s life. I’ve spent less time with friends. I’ve definitely skipped a lot of shows on TV! But my gain has been stories. Stories, that bump and rattle around in my head until I let them out. Books, that would not be here on this earth, if I hadn’t written them. 

Another thing I love about NaNoWriMo is that it encourages us to just let go and write. To get the words done, we have to silence our inner critics and our inner editors. We have to let the stories pour onto our keyboards. This is such good practice for me because my inner critic is fierce, and possibly downright evil. There are many days when she completely shuts down my writing and sends me into soul-sucking spirals of doubt and procrastination!

But in National Novel Writing Month, we commit publicly to writing 50,000 words in a month, we commit to trying to write every day, or as much as possible, and then we go for it. The point is to get the words on paper and edit them later and this, even after ten published novels, is a fabulous exercise for me!

If you’ve ever wanted to write a book, November is a great month to jump in. You can find support and information on the NaNoWriMo website, and you can connect with other writers in your community or online. And yes, it’s November 5th already, but that’s not too late. I’ll tell you a secret. I haven’t started yet either. I had some revising to do and some life to live these past few days. But watch me go, from here on out. I’ve got my eye on that 50,000-word target!

Want to take a peek at my progress? Or connect on the NaNoWriMo website? Here is my page. And if you’d like a pep talk from a far more eloquent writer than me, check out what one of my writing heroes, Anne Lamott, has to say! https://nanowrimo.org/pep-talk-from-anne-lamott

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