Every year in November, people all over the world spend 30 days writing a 50,000 word novel. Approximately. Some write many more and some write many fewer than 50,000 words and some get it done in less than 30 days but the premise remains: 50,000 words in 30 days. The event is called National Novel Writing Month, or nanowrimo and I’ve been participating for nine years.
Since I was 14 I have, as Neil Gaiman puts it, made things up and written them down. I’ve known for a very long time that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. At college I majored in Creative Writing, spending every spare second writing stories. After college I worked a few different jobs, spending every spare minute around them writing stories.
I’ve completed eight different full-length novels. Some of them are better than others. I have file upon file in my computer stuffed with stories and ideas and characters. One of my stories was published in an anthology once. Yet, I still thought of being a writer as a dream. Something I would hope for and work toward and maybe finally become when I was 40. (40 is a magic number at which you Become an Adult and Things Happen.)
All that changed last summer when I decided to stop waiting and hoping and dreaming that one day I would grow up and be a writer. I quit my job. I re-arranged the living room to look kind of like an office. And I began to write.
The days fell into a schedule. Get up, make coffee and breakfast, write. Work out, eat lunch, write. Take a nap, make dinner, play video games. Sleep, wake, repeat.
This went on for months. (In fact, I’m still doing it now.) Sometime between July when it started and November when I opened a fresh Word Document for one more nanowrimo something changed. Everything changed. I became a writer.
I woke up, got coffee, ate breakfast and did my job. I worked out, ate lunch, and did my job some more. Every morning I made my living room into an office, sat down, and did my job. Every evening I turned my living room back into a living room and took a break from my job. And around and around it went.
Suddenly, inspiration and writer’s block were just faster and slower typing speeds. Suddenly, nine-to-five wasn’t something I did to enable evenings and weekends. Suddenly, I was a writer.
I think this year’s nanowrimo project is pretty good. It’s called The Runners of Bel. I hope you all get to read it very soon.