Celebrating 30 Days of Pure Literary Lunacy
By Michael P. Geffner
November, for a ton of writers all over the world, is National Novel Writing Month—or what easily could be called 30 Days of Pure Literary Lunacy.
It’s nothing less than a maddening exercise that requires you to type until your fingers are raw, your eyeballs glaze over, and your mind is numb.
"The ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output,"reads the official website. "It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly."
Or, as some would say with a weak chuckle, die trying.
Now, for the record, let me say I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo. I’ve never even thought about it. In fact, I haven’t aspired to write a novel since my early 20’s, when I thought—no, I was convinced—that I was the next Hemingway or Camus or Faulkner.
That said, I must admit I absolutely adore the concept: forcing you to write a 50,000-word (175-page) novel from November 1st to midnight, November 30th—an utterly frenetic period of creative energy.
It can’t help but bring to the surface so many great qualities a writer needs to develop a life of it: discipline, commitment, and the perseverance to finish something (How many stories have we all heard of unfinished novels?).
I also love the sense of community it inspires—the shared joy, the shared pain, the shared fear that you see all over the online writing networks, as well as on places like Twitter and Facebook and Myspace and YouTube.
Let’s face it: We writers live mostly a lonely, solitary existence.
We lock ourselves in rooms.
We hide in quiet, shadowy corners.
We write within the darkness of our souls and lost in the fog of our imagination.
So it’s a beautiful thing that something exists out there that gives us this one chance to feel like we’re doing something together and chatting about it every step of the way.
I celebrate this glorious experience, as well as have infinite respect for those brave souls who have voluntarily entered the belly of the NaNoWriMo beast.
To those continuing to feverishly bang away trying desperately to hit that 50K, good luck!
I'm with you in spirit.
Best always and stay positive,