In honour of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I feel like I should be self-reflective. I’m participating this year, and I’m really determined to meet the 50k word goal. My piece is a short story cycle, presented as a novel, about extraordinary women across the ages. I’m looking forward to getting stuck into it, usually I race off at full speed the instant I have an idea, and quickly burn out, however, this time I’ve held back and actually planned out my work. Hopefully that means I’m on the right path this year.
NaNoWriMo is always set in the month of November, with a goal of getting writers to write. The goal is to write 50k words in a month, which averages to around 1,666 words per day…which doesn’t sound half as scary. Last year there was 384,126 participants, spanning globally, of which hundreds of books have now been traditionally published. Before I get started though, I think it would be interesting to think about why I write.
Ever since I was a child I wrote, mainly journals about the places I had been or particular museum objects. I would reel through notebook after notebook, furiously writing in my most scribbly handwriting. I’m not saying it was any good, but it was the beginning of a lifelong passion. This started because of the importance I placed in particular memories. I still believe that writing down a memory is far more effective than taking a picture. You can explain the scene to all of your senses, rather than just sight, and by stimulating all of these different senses, you can remember a time much better. Instead of having a still snapshot in time you can create a fleshed out memory. Letters are great for this. If you have ever had a letter sent to you, keep it, it’s a dying art and it will capture that person at that point in time, which is something you should treasure.
This feeling lead me onto poetry. I have always had a fascination with poetry, I like that it can have all of these rules in one state, and in the next it is the most freeing form of writing. However, I always felt like I needed to write something with more body. I tried to do an epic once, but that was extremely difficult to even get started, and I haven’t tried since. Therefore, the next logical step was to try and write a novel. I’ve had several attempts at this, and again have never finished.
I’m naturally a creative person, and have a deep urge to create. Writing satisfies this urge more so than other creative outlets, and this once again stems back to the urge to create something that is greater than just a snapshot. Although I write fiction, I tend to lean towards historical fiction. My degree course was research heavy, and so I enjoy setting a piece in its time, as it encourages a lot of extra reading around the subject. I think that painting a story which never happened is hugely creative, and by writing an imaginary world you can give yourself whatever authorial voice you please, and I think that’s probably why a lot of writers write.
If you have the urge to write, but have never managed to find the motivation, I do urge you to do NaNoWriMo. You can’t regret the words you write, but you can regret the ones you don’t.
If you would like to find out more about NaNoWriMo, please visit their website here.