Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NaNoWriMo Week 2 Update


We’re at week two of National Novel Writing Month.

For those interested in the stats: I have logged 22K words, my 15 NaNo buddies combined word count is hovering at about half a million and therefore halfway to our group word goal. Of course that doesn’t count the nearly three-quarters of a million words in support posts we have published on our group forum thread and Facebook walls.

That first week went by in a blur. In way that first week reminded me of the start of the Great Ocean of Fire race in the film Hidalgo. It’s a long distance race over many days but the way some of the competitors charged off the line gives the impression that it’s won on the first day.

NaNoWriMo is a month-long novel writing challenge – a race if you want to think of it that way. It’s possible, and some have even done it, to write all 50K words on the first day. If the only thing you come for is the 50K words and the purple bar in your profile, then that’s what you’ll get. Some of us come for other reasons in addition to the purple bar.

I find there is a spiritual component to doing NaNo. In a way it is every bit a wilderness experience as the Great Ocean of Fire or Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness. In order to get to the finish at all you have to strip your life down to essentials.

In the film Hopkins has his horse, as much food and water as he can carry, a shifting mixture of faith and his wits, and the guidance of his appointed interpreter to survive the desert and its hazards. The Bible says that Jesus had nothing but spiritual communion with God for 40 days to sustain him against Satan’s temptations. During NaNo it comes down to the writer and his or her writing tools, infusions from a support network, and overcoming their own demons in order to write a novel in 30 days.

No one comes out of any of these experiences the same person they were when they started. You learn something about the stuff you are made of. Participating in NaNoWriMo challenges what is really important on your list of activities. The process of writing day after day forces you to start listening to the things that are floating around loose in your head and making choices about those ideas.

Only a few NaNoWriMos will ever become published and paid as an author; that’s the reality. Far more, however, find and eventually act on what is really important to do with their lives that contribute to the greater good.

Have you undertaken something challenging and found you came away with something you didn’t expect?


chelle said...

So cool that you are doing so well!!! Keep at it!

All the time I get more than I bargained for :)

Deb said...

@chelle - Ha! Getting "more than one bargained for" does seem to come with the mom territory. But be honest; it's not all bad stuff.