September 30, 2011
Nine months ago, Word Press announced a challenge to bloggers: post a day or post a week. They unveiled this challenge on December 30, 2010, just in time for the new year.
Today, Word Press announced another challenge. This time, they are encouraging bloggers to prepare for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) by participating in the Post a Day challenge.
Last year, my daughter organized a group of us in Slave Lake to participate in NaNoWriMo. We had a small group eager to participate. In the end, my daughter and I were successful in writing at least 50,000 words in 30 days.
It was not easy. But I did it. My daughter had completed NaNoWriMo in 2009 and I had agreed back then that I would join her in 2010. So I had to stick to my commitment. It would have been easy to just say, “It’s no big deal if I don’t finish.” It was more of a commitment to my daughter than to the idea of NaNoWriMo. I had to finish.
Life has a way of interfering with my plans, so there were about two weeks where I didn’t do any writing at all. I had targeted to write 1,667 words each day. Over the course of two weeks, that’s a lot of words. I sat down at the computer and just started typing.
The trick to NaNoWriMo is not to concern yourself with the quality. As my daughter says, “Writing is about 80% junk and 20% quality. I just got the junk out of the way.” I like that attitude and I used it to keep myself going. I did not concern myself with editing. After all, nobody but me was going to ever see it. I did not concern myself with what made sense. I did not concern myself with “sticking to the topic,” or any of those other factors that are considered important in an English class.
I simply wrote.
At one point, I started writing about the act of writing under the circumstances. I ended up creating a story about a writer who was kidnapped and forced to write. It was a strange experience as I was very much in the moment. Late in the evening, I heard a noise in the kitchen. In the story, someone was coming down the hallway to the office where this poor writer was frantically trying to stay attached to the keyboard. At that point in the story, I heard the noise and kept glancing over my shoulder wondering if some freak was really coming down the hallway.
Physically, I was even reacting to the story. I felt my body swaying as I wrote about the exhaustion of the character. I felt my fingers going numb as I wrote about the character’s fingers feeling like they were going to fall off.
Now that’s a good story when the writer herself is getting freaked out, while creating the story. I enjoyed that story. It certainly wasn’t the only theme throughout the 50,000 word document. But it definitely was the best part.
On the last day of November, 2010, we had a writer’s group meeting. The small group of us that had started the challenge together met to end the challenge. My daughter and I copied and pasted the last of our stories into the NaNoWriMo’s robo-counter, and pressed “enter.” As our numbers tallied up to over 50,000 each, we all yelled in triumph. We even had the local reporter there to take pictures of the momentous event.
My daughter had written one coherent story so she submitted her story to NaNoWriMo to be published into an actual book. Fortunately, she had lent that book to one of the writers in our writing group, whose house did not burn down in the wildfires. That book has been returned to my daughter, and she now has it for a keepsake.
As for my incredible writing, it was stored on my computer. And now it is stored in my memory. Our house was destroyed in the wildfire and, along with the house and the usual possessions, all of my writing was destroyed too.
I’m definitely signing up for NaNoWriMo again this year. I’ve got a story to write!
For information about Post a Day or Post a Week by Word Press, click on the link: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2010/12/30/how-to-sign-up-postaday-postaweek/
For information on NaNoWriMo, click on the link: http://www.nanowrimo.org
For suggestions on how to prepare for NaNoWriMo, click on the link: http://en.blog.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/prepare-for-national-novel-writing-month-with-the-post-a-day-challenge/