Meditation on Madness (or NaNo has eaten my brain)

It’s the second day of NaNoWriMo. Nano to those of you in the know.

For those of you who’ve never heard of it: National Novel Writing Month. It’s a month of insanity that hopes to spark creativity, form community, and generally celebrate the glorious craft of writing.

The main challenge is to write 50K words in one month. No, this isn’t novel length. But it is at least half a novel or more depending on genre. And it’s a damned good way to get your juices rolling. It does teach discipline. Better yet, it makes people think and actually get involved.

As writers, it also helps create a safe space to meet and share triumphs and lows. I have met people through Nano that I’d never have thought to talk to before. People who have been hiding in my area. For one month, at least, we’re a community. We share the same sense of dread, the same joy, and the same challenge.

As an additional push, this year Nano is running a book drive. (I was silly enough to volunteer to work on it. As if a month of work, secondary work, writing, and Thanksgiving weren’t enough on my plate. Still, if you’re in the NoVa area: eoen42 at gmail dot com. I’ll arrange pick up of the books or arrange a drop off point.)

Personally, I’ve never won Nano, but I *have* come up with some strong characters and learned to actually plot. Every year I get a little bit better and this year, I’m going to win the damned thing if it freaking kills me and I spend three straight days doing nothing but writing. (I know from the *even more insane* 3-Day challenge that I can churn out 80K in three days.)

Nano also teaches me to stop editing and just keep writing. You can always edit later. (Some people choose to do this in December. Me, I’d rather wait until January. I’m usually still writing the same piece in December.)

But what it comes down to in my case, is the fact that for one month of the year, I know for a fact that there’s several thousand other idiots out there writing, fighting, laughing, crying, and generally moving in the same direction I am.

You’ll know when you see us this month. We’re the quiet group of laptops in the Panera Bread or the person on the Metro who’s scribbling like crazy in his notebook between stops. Yeah, we’re all nuts, but, to quote Alice 2010, all the best people are.

Join the insanity: NaNoWriMo

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