Afriend of mine who recently was inspired to look inward and begin his journey as a writer, suggested he may participate in NaNoWriMo this year. This event has been on my radar for a few years but, I have never made the time to take part. For those who are unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. This event started in 1999 and is what it sounds like, a month dedicated to writing a novel. The goal: to write a 50,000 novel a month. Starting November 1 through November 30, the goal of its participants is to write a complete novel of at least 50,000 words. This event has gained a lot of traction over the last few years, enough that writing book bundles have been compiled and offered during its time frame. These bundles are sold during October through November and, are crafted to help aspiring writers hone their craft. I have picked up the recent NaNoWriMo bundle from Storybundle and have started reading one of the 12 books included in the bundle and, can report it has helped me reframe the way I think about creative writing.

It could be assumed I am about to announce my participation. You know what they say about assumptions. They make an ass out of you and me. I’m not ready to verify whether I will or will not take part. I am still considering if it is even possible for me to complete a 50,000 word work within 30 days. I am still getting my writing chops back in order. Would it be an opportunity to write with a goal in mind? Sure. Would it be a challenge? YES. Were I do this thing, it would mean writing about 1700 words a day. Is that possible, even manageable? Yes. However, I know my word count per minute is low. Guessing, it would probably take me about 2.5 or 3 hours to write that length. Do I have that much time in a day to write? Yes. Even more on the weekends if that is the only thing I want to accomplish. Here’s the catch and the question I’m trying to answer. Do I want the pressure come November to write every day and for that many words daily? I don’t have an answer.

Could my current daily challenge be used help prepare me for NaNoWriMo? Yes. The goal all along has been to increase my creative writing ability. It takes time to build that muscle. I am unsure if I have the creative strength to write and complete a work of that length within a month. It’s a daunting task I had not considered when I stared the October challenge. However, the natural extension of daily writing is to shift into something more structured like a novel or a novella. But 50,000 words. Oh my. I’m not sure I’m prepared for that yet.

I have gotten feedback from a few friends saying; they think it would a good challenge for me and, believe I could do it. I guess it comes down to myself. Do I have enough confidence to believe I can do it? Do I have enough gumption to commit to a month of intensive writing and creative creation? Do I have enough creative strength to support a goal of 50,000 words by the end of November? The answer to all those questions is, I don’t know. It’s a challenge to live a universe created by the imagination for an extended period. I know I used to be able to do it. I used to be able to live and breathe a world, creating and describing as needed. I know I have a world seed I want to explore and, a new character I want to further develop. Is that enough for NaNoWriMo? I don’t know. It takes a long of energy and creative sparks to develop a world. I haven’t flexed those muscles in a long time.

I’m afraid. Afraid I won’t be able to reach this goal. Afraid that I can’t, no matter how much prep time I have. I heard a phrase recently going something like this: We all like to win. I believe it to be a true statement.  If I commit to something, I want to know I have the skill and time to complete whatever task is in front of me. I am confident in the skills I have in my profession enabling me to succeed. I have heard my boss say, “I am confident enough in his abilities to believe he will adapt to changes and complete assignments timely.” It builds my confidence to hear someone say that. I am not as confident in my creative writing ability. I just started flexing those muscles in the last two weeks. While I have gotten positive feedback from those who have read the entry’s, I don’t yet have the confidence to believe I can write 50,000 words in 30 days. And not just 50,000 words. A complete novel with a cohesive beginning middle and end. Anyone can write 50,000 worlds. But to have the words make sense together and form a narrative that’s hard. I don’t know if I have that in me now. I believe I will have it. It takes time to develop the creative.

All of what I have just written could be an excuse my fear of failure and rejection. I want to write but, will anyone like and appreciate my style? I have to answer a few questions. Am I writing for me or for others? Am I writing to express what is in my soul or, am I writing for approval? Am I writing to be noticed or, am I writing for the sake of writing? Am I writing to sell books or, am I writing because I have something important to say? These are all good questions I believe any author, new or old, needs to answer. While these questions may not directly apply to NaNoWriMo, I believe the spirit of the event is to write for writing’ sake. To enjoy the writing process even if you don’t reach the goal of 50,000 words. I believe the goal is to be proud of your craft and, share that pride with others around you. When I take a hard look at Active Musing, it has a similar purpose. Yes, it’s a place for me to process and share my musings about the world, how it functions, society, myself, and my place in the world. It’s a place for expression, where my often confused mind can gain insight into the world in which I live. In addition, it is also a place where I can share my love of the written word with others. I don’t remember if I said this in one of the other dailies; I love to write. It is one of the best tools I have allowing me to process and explore topics. Sometimes that takes the form of journal entries and others, it take the form of creative writing. Writing allows me to share bits of me with the world. I think NaNoWriMo allows people to do exactly that.

So, do I know if I will participate in NaNoWriMo this year? No. It is temping as, I am slowly developing a world. I am afraid of failing. We all like to win. With that said, I’m glad events like this exist. It gives people a chance to express themselves. Fear not, I will decide before November 1.

Till next we meet!