For anyone who wasn't here last fall and doesn't know what the heck I'm talking about, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. Every year, tens of thousands of people world-wide sign up here and then attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Last year was the first year I'd attempted it and I finished at noon on November 30 with a whopping 50,002 words (I'll leave it up to you to decide whether the two extraneous words were "a novel" written under the title on the cover page or "THE END" typed with great zeal when I finally finished.)
Those of you who were around here, and more notably around ME, last November will also remember that I complained about it. A LOT. It is a challenging thing to do, this writing a novel in a month. You have to average 1,667 words a day. These words are intended to go together, forming a plot. With characters. And dialogue. And some sort of (although this is in no way enforced) coherence.
Last year's novel was called Nora Stern is No Hero (a novel). I decided to start with a wordy title, just to get myself going. I also gave each of my chapters a long, wordy title, despite the fact that I have never before even been tempted to title a chapter. Because I never knew what was coming next, I couldn't write an accurate chapter title before beginning the chapter, but I felt a need to boost my word count right off the bat. So several of my chapters were temporarily titled something along the lines of "Will anything happen in Chapter 13?" or "Probably the plot should finally move forward in Chapter 17." Once something had happened (or not) and the chapter was complete, I would change the title, usually to something involving even more words.
I did it last year in large part because I had an idea for a book and I didn't think I'd ever finish it without some sort of externally imposed deadline. Also, I had moved to Austin a few months earlier and I wanted to meet some people there. I remember thinking partway through how insane it was and how I'd never do it again.
I remember my next thought being that I'd probably forget how hard it was and sign up the very next year.
Because, see, I have this idea for a book and I don't think I'll ever finish it without some sort of externally imposed deadline. And I just moved to Madison a few months ago and this could be an opportunity to meet more people here.
Plus, now there's the whole not having a job thing. Maybe someone in the Madison NaNo group would like to give me a job. And, novel procrastination being as powerful as it is, I should actually want to write more cover letters. And if anybody asks me during November "what do you do?" I can say with total honesty, "I'm writing a novel." I won't TELL them that I'm getting paid for it, I will just let them THINK that I'm getting paid for it. See the difference?
So if you didn't enjoy the whining last November, you might want to stick around until the end of October and then rejoin us in December. It's going to get complainey around here.