Yes Virginia, There Is an Insanity Clause


I was at our regular weekly meeting of the Rough Writers last Thursday, when I asked if any of the students there were planning on participating in National Novel Writing Month.

Kaylee raised her hand. “What is it?”

“During the month of November, you go to the NaNoWriMo website and pledge with 100,000 other people to write a 50,000 novel in 30 days. It’s fun,” I said.

No one else raised their hand. Someone else said, “We’re college students. We don’t have time.”

My plan is to finish the last few pages of this book during NaNoWriMo.
My plan is to finish the last few pages of this book during NaNoWriMo.

The reality is, no one has time for National Novel Writing Month. It averages out to 1,666 words a day for 30 days. If you’re writing regularly–like each and every day–it would be a breeze. But how many of us can honestly say that we are that disciplined? For those of us Ordinary Joes, it is a major challenge.

On the other hand, each of us have time for National Novel Writing Month. When you are in graduate school, you spend every waking moment thinking or doing your homework, either writing papers, reading books or preparing to write papers. They tell you that graduate school will be your new lifestyle. And it’s true. I thought I could fit it in with everything else I did, but you can’t. You have to make it your #1 priority.

That’s the way it is with National Novel Writing Month. Tell your friends and loved ones that you will be mentally gone for 30 days, but you’ll be back. Then swear off unnecessary stuff like watching TV, mowing your lawn and reading books for fun. Hey, it’s just 30 days. You can do it. It’s amazing how much time we waste in a day, and you’ll discover this when you start NaNoWriMo.

Then find a way to write in any and every free moment that you have. The big #1 rule is: write like the wind. Don’t stop for anything, especially editing. Let yourself write drivel, junk, crap. It’s all good. What you are seeking are just words, lots of them. And when you finish, you will have accomplished something you didn’t thought you could.

I’m a writer, but my day job is a university professor. One might think that they keep me pretty busy, and you’d be right. But I found the time to do NaNoWriMo three times, completing it twice, with the results turning into two novels that I have since published.

Sign up at nanowrimo.org. Look me up and friend me. We can keep each other encouraged on this journey. Together.

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