Novel idea: Month-long project produces stress, insanity, and lots of words

Every year for the month of November, thousands of people invest their blood, sweat and tears into creating their own 50,000 word novel, about 175 pages. I am one of them.  Why do we do this? The answer is NaNoWriMo, better known as National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo, a nonprofit program that anyone can donate to, encourages people to write to limits they previously thought impossible by focusing not on quality, but on quantity. It forces you to silence your inner editor (editing is for after the month is over) and just let the words pour out, becoming a fantastic story.

The thing is, these 50,000 words don’t come easily. Having to write close to 2,000 words daily takes a toll on a person — especially if you are a student with responsibilities for all your classes — and can’t exactly ask for “extra time to finish work because you’re writing a novel.” The pressure of the word count is a challenge you cannot back down from, which leads you to do some desperate things. Writing song lyrics in the middle of your story or inventing characters that cannot stop talking are common measures some people take, but repeating words will not work — their official website has a word counter to detect these things. So that means no cheating and no plagiarism. Tempting as they might be, those words will not be counted as valid.

Every night, I head home from a hard day at school, only to be created by a daunting assignment — 2000 words. I drag myself to the computer and sit down, desperately trying to get the words out and be done for the day. Sometimes, its fun. Most of the time, it’s torture. Occasionally, I “forget” about the writing I must do, and call it quits, vowing to give up, that I’ll never do this again- only to crawl back to the computer again. I’m sure this is what it must be like for everyone else as well. Or at least, I hope.

In the end, NaNoWriMo is a hard road. It is stressful, and will push you to your limits, resulting in a novel that, when reread, makes little sense. However, at the end of the road, your heart will swell up with pride; after all, you just wrote your first novel, 175 pages purely of your own ideas and thoughts. It’s a stunning accomplishment, one well worth the nights you stayed up to get the word count in, or the time you forgot to eat lunch because you were busy writing, or that time you began to cry over your word count … but I digress. NaNoWriMo is an amazing experience, but not for the faint of heart. It’s for the brave, the bold and those who are willing to pour their heart and soul into a project. Also, in case you were wondering, yes, I will be adding this article to my mixed up novel of sorts.