Every time I have a conference with my older son’s teacher, we spend 15 minutes skirting around words like ‘challenge’ and ‘motivate’. What it takes me a quarter of an hour to illustrate by saying things like, “Yes, he is a bright boy but as his pushy mother I know he can do a lot more with the right…er…motivation” could be quickly summed up by saying, “sometimes he needs a good swift kick up the ass.”
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Just like my son, I too need a good swift kick to the rear end from time to time. In this case I need a kick, jumper cables and possibly the threat of blackmail to, as they like to say, put my ass in the chair. I speak of course, of the book. So, what do you do when faced with the specter of an unfinished project hanging over your head, when you are easily preoccupied with the shadow of procrastination that darkens your keyboard? Why you join an online writing challenge of course, one that sets a ridiculously near impossible goal of writing 50,000 words in a month.
NaNoWriMo is the tongue twister acronym symbolizing National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that you devote the month of November to writing the novel you’ve been meaning to write for oh, say, the last 20 years or so. You know, the one you’re forever talking about. The one that is the subject of the line in your bio that reads “X is currently at work on her first novel.” The one that sounds cute and ambitious when you’re 18 but kind of lazy when you’re firmly entrenched in middle age.
50,000 words is a lot of words. The good folk who run NaNoWriMo estimate that it’s about 150 pages, roughly the length of The Great Gatsby. I am not a minimalist writer. I’m wordy, loquacious, long-winded. It’s the way I write. I’ve probably written shopping lists longer than The Great Gatsby, so I’m not expecting that I can write an entire novel in the style that I write in one month and squeeze it into 150 pages. However, if I can write 150 pages in the month of November, and add it to the 130 or so I have, well then we’re getting somewhere.
It’s the perfect time, really. After the madness of October break and Halloween but before the onslaught of Christmas. It’s 30 days to devote to writing nothing but the novel. Except of course…the blog. With the success of Nine Expats, it seems an odd time to go on a self-imposed hiatus. The piece had over 60,000 views and more than 10,000 Facebook shares. The best thing though, was that people stayed to read more. It’s a blogger’s dream come true. So it seems a funny time to stop cold and risk becoming, as a friend pointed out, a one-hit-wonder. Still, after contemplating the risk of becoming the blogging equivalent of Kajagoogoo, I’ve decided that for the 30 days hath November, the book wins.
It’s a temporary hiatus. I’ve got enough material amassed to repost a month’s worth of favorites. Trust me, there’s plenty in the back catalog to keep anyone who is interested busy reading. In the meantime it’s also NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) so there will be a plethora of posts for your personal perusal. There are some really fantastic blogs out there, I encourage you to go and read them.
November also sees the release of Precipice, Volume III which is now available for pre-order. The book will be out on November 14 in Kindle format and in book format on December 1, 2014. Just in time for Christmas. My short story, The Space Between our Names is part of the anthology and I am really excited to read the other authors included.
I’m not anticipating new posts this month, but if anything truly exciting happens, I’ll be sure to let you know. For the most part, for the next month, I’ll be practicing swift self kicks to the ass. I’m hoping I get really good at it.
In the meantime, revisit some posts, share them, and feel free to shake your head in wonderment as to why I would do such a thing.
I should be back in time to rant about Christmas.
Wish me luck!