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Yikes! NaNoWriMo is almost upon us writers already!


Where have I been and what was I thinking??

National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, will be here faster than I realized. Yes, I know, I should have looked more closely at the calendar or paid more attention to what I saw. It’s right there in the same place every year at this time, isn’t it? November I mean. According to the countdown clock at the NaNoWriMo website, we’re at three days, 12 hours, and counting until the magic challenge begins.

I rarely use terms like “yikes” in article titles. And I really hate using exclamation points at all. But I couldn’t help myself when I realized I’d fallen behind in my planning for this year’s November dream novel, and that I hadn’t said anything about NaNoWriMo yet here. So consider yourself now informed, or at least alerted, to the annual writing-fest for this year.

To those of you less knowledgeable writers out there, NaNoWriMo is, as explained on their website, a “fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.”

If you’ve never tried this exciting challenge before, or if you just want to find out whose hanging out on their forums and planning to try this year, I urge you to go to their website. But before you go, let me tell you why I think you really ought to give it a try, even if you know (as we all do) that life is too full and time too short to tackle such a project. So here goes my best, probably lame, effort to motivate you into trying it:

Once upon a time, there was a young lad named, oh, let’s call him, “Gary.” At a very young age (around 4 years old?), little Gary wrote his first story. That little story is lost in the musty, dusty daze of nostalgia and was never published anywhere but on a Big Chief tablet and presented to his mother. (Little Gary tells me it was written sometime in October, probably around 1953, and had a Halloween theme.)

Following his first taste of the joy of seeing a story title with “By Little Gary” bylined under it, our young lad realized the major differences (or so he thought) between his story and the ones he saw in books were, 1) the books and stories in them usually had pictures, 2) those writers knew more and bigger words, and, 3) more people read those stories. Those three facts had a breathtaking effect on Little Gary. He realized if he learned enough words, even if he gave up on the picture part, he might be able to put together stories people would read in books.

He’s still trying. And every year at NaNoWriMo time, Little Gary says something like: “Aw, what the heck. I can do that. Why not??” And with that sort of determination, maybe some year — maybe this year? — Little Gary will write a book during November. And maybe, say in December, January, and even February, following this magical November, he’ll get that book polished and primed to send off to agents, editors, and other such mythical characters.

Just maybe, those same mythical, mystical good people will give Little Gary lots of money for his November novel. It could happen.

It could happen to you, too, so why not give it a shot? Join me? Just go to that NaNoWriMo website and check it out today. November will be here soon! (And that’s worth at least one more exclamation mark, isn’t it?)