We’ve talked a bit about dreams before, but here’s a funny thought: what if, this November, you could actually do more?
What happens is that you participate in NaNo your first time, your second time, your third. You get to know your approach to writing, and what works for your personally, and what doesn’t. You win a few NaNos, you lose a few. (You skip a year, khm, and you can’t even recall why you did it, later.)
You start writing a bit more, possibly even outside of NaNo, you build your writing community, in person or online, and you realize that this writing thing is a, um, thing you wish to do more often. You start dreaming.
You ask yourself; what if this November you didn’t write only 50,000 words? What if you tried writing 60k? 80k? How long will your novel be in its final form, anyway? (At this point almost everybody agrees that 50k is a bit on the short side for popular fiction nowadays, even though it doesn’t matter nearly as much as in the earlier decades. Or so the internets tell me.)
What if you approached this NaNo as the beginning of something new and wonderful—scary as shit, yeah, but also thrilling in its own way? And the 50k mark is still, traditionally, enough to win. You can switch it up, true, but it’s still the ‘classic’ NaNo.
And, to reach any other wordcount by December 1st—unless you’re the prolific type, which we could arbitrarily describe this early morning as a person who can get 1000+words in during a single hour of writing—you would probably need to stretch yourself a bit further, a bit wider, and drop even more of your favourite everyday activities.
You’d need to look yourself in the eye (let’s presume you use a mirror for this excercise, but writers know it’s not strictly neccessary), tell yourself you can do it, and commit. At this point, you’ll leave the beaten (or typed out) path, and do something else, something even more personal than sitting down and typing your heart out every day. You’ll need backup, and you can probably find it in your crowd, but you’d face even more of the vast expanse of empty pages before you alone.
But it will all be worth it in the end. It’ll all pay out, if you push a little harder, dream a little bigger (darling), and go a little further. I have to believe it—I have to make it my truth, this year—because I already know I’m taking the plunge.
Because I’m going to finish this stupid murder mystery in November even if my MCs get killed off by an insomniac writer. I’m going to punk the shit out of this dieselpunk fantasy because everytime I write the word ‘pincurls’ my heart beats a little faster, and there are many more words to go until the story’s done.
I’m going to do it, ultimately, because come December, I will be a dead writer, my fingers will probably be useless, my pets will not even want to fart in my direction anymore and my s.o. will stop doing the dishes altogether hoping I’ll make it up to her for skipping the chore so many times in November in favour of writing a thousand words more.
Because, honestly, I like this dream. And, even more importantly… I’m willing to work for it.
Image by Stig Nygard.