So it’s the beginning of November and I’ll bet you a whole ream of paper that many of you are first timers with National Novel Writing Month. Or what we old-timers like to call NaNo. And the more I thought of the NaNo experience, the more I thought about my recent trip to New York. And what I thought was gee, Cathy, what a great metaphor!
I’ve been to a lot of places around the world, but New York’s not one of ‘em. It’s too big, too crowded, too expensive, too…too overwhelming! But Juniorette Hall has been several times and loves the Big Apple. Come on, she said, let’s do it for our birthdays! It’ll be great! And in a moment of weakness, I said okay. (Gulp!)
You’ve been writing for a while…a short story here, an essay there, your blog, your journal, but a whole book? 50,000 words?! It’s too much, too time-consuming, too demanding, too…too overwhelming! But your writer friends, or maybe a few critique partners, have done Nano several times and they love it. Come on, they say, we’ll do it together and it’ll be lots of fun because we’ll have that great NaNo community and accountability! And in a moment of weakness, you say okay. (Gulp!)
We stayed in Manhattan, and honestly, for a somewhat small area, it’s packed with things to do! So we had a plan, a schedule of what we’d cram into each day, from nine in the morning till midnight. But we neglected to take into consideration travel times, long lines, rainy, cold weather, and sold out venues. In four days, we accomplished maybe one quarter of the things we wanted to do, despite how hard we tried! (Phoeey!)
November is a long month—thirty days—but still, it’s packed with all kinds of things to do besides writing. Undaunted, you've made a plan, maybe plotted out your idea beforehand and made notes about characters. In short, you've organized a tight schedule to get all those words done (or you follow the NaNo suggestion of 1667 words per day). But you didn't account for sudden sickness, lost notes, fingers cramping, and a finicky laptop. So despite your best laid plans, it’s only Day Three and you’re already 2,657 words behind. (Phoeey!)
It was a whirlwind of sights and sounds and smells and I was flat wore out when it was done. And yes, my feet ached and my pocketbook took a hit and I can barely remember it all, but it was totally worth every minute! Why did I wait so long to go? But when I go back to New York—because there’s so much more I want to see and do there!—I’ll be ready for whatever the Big Apple throws at me! (Whee!)
It’s only been a couple of days and maybe you’re already flat wore out. But I’ll bet you’ve done more writing than usual, and if you keep at it, you’ll accomplish more than you can imagine. Although it may not be a book that anyone would ever read, you’ll learn so much from this first Nano try, that I promise, it’ll totally be worth it. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it before! And then next year—because you’ll have another great idea, right?—you’ll be ready for whatever November and NaNo throws at you! (Whee!)
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