Okay.  Nanowrimo talk again.  I couldn’t help but notice that several people who found their way here yesterday did so via a search on fear Nanowrimo

Ask yourself, of what are you afraid, exactly?  Possible ideas that flock to my mind:

1) Failure.  Starting to write words and then running out of time/energy/fingers/ideas.

Okay.  This could happen.  Digits have been severed before.  But most of you have 10 to start with, so you could still type with 8 or 9.  Be careful of knives and car doors, and you’ll be okay.  Seriously, though – there are more than enough minutes in the day to get this done, and as soon as you begin the Nanowrimo process ideas will come flooding in from everywhere.  Weird people will show up in your life, just asking to be characters in your book.  Events far stranger than fiction will occur.  All you have to do is write it down.

2) Humiliation.   Your friends are going to laugh at you if you don’t complete.

Don’t worry about them, they’re just jealous.  And afraid.  If they were brave and creative like you they’d be trying this themselves.

3) Word Deprivation. Where are all the words going to come from?  

That’s just silly.  There are millions of words.  Probably.  I haven’t counted them, but I know there are lots.  And it’s okay to use most of them more than once.

4) Dearth of Ideas. I don’t have any ideas.

Yes you do.  

5) The Nanowrimo Monster Guilt Monkeys coming to take me away…

Well, this one might warrant a little fear. If you write every day they will leave you alone.

What I’m trying to say is this:  Fears of Nanowrimo are about as valid as fears of the mythical Jabberwocky.  (Which, if you recall, was efficiently slain by the beamous boy.  Calloo, Callay!)   Completing Nanowrimo is more a matter of priorities than anything else.  You clear your schedule, you sit down with your chosen writing implement, and you write. And you write, and write, and write, until your word count for the day is done.  And then you eat something fattening and go to bed.  This is meant to be playtime, people.  The writing arena where critics don’t count, where plot is optional, where the words are free and at your disposal to use in any way you’d like.

If you’re a purist who creates literature during this festive event, more power to you.  I tried that last year and it sort of spoiled my fun.  In my opinion, this is not the time for anything that requires serious thought or research.  I know some of you have carefully crafted outlines and plots and characters in preparation for this event.  I am in awe of you.  For the rest of you who have done no preparation at all, I’m here as living proof to tell you the feat can be accomplished with little or no forethought.  Three Nanowrimo wins under my belt, and I think I maybe had a character or two in mind when I began one of those novels.

If you’re a newbie this year, I do suggest the following:

1.  Figure out where in the day you’re going to carve out time to write, actually write it on a schedule, and stick to it.

2. Find a place to write.  If you’re like me, and your writing space is smack dab in the middle of the family common space, with pianos and electric guitars and TVs and cats, get some headphones and a music device.

3.  Connect.  If you have a local Nanowrimo community, go to the meetings and the write ins.  The energy created by a group of writers with a common purpose is invigorating.  If you don’t have that, connect with online buddies.

4. Don’t expect a lot of support from your family and friends.  They may whine a lot.  They may not be quite as inspired by your quest for a Nano win as you would like.  Ignore them.  They’ll survive without you for a month.

5. Engage in word wars with somebody.  This has been a life saving device for me in the past.  If you have a writing buddy online, set up a chat window and engage in 30 minute word wars.  It’s amazing how much you can get done when you’re racing to write as many words as possible.  Surprisingly, sometimes those words are actually quality words, that push you past a writing block or problem.  

Well – I have more to say, but I have to go to work, so that’s all folks.  I leave you with this reminder:

Nanowrimo is meant to be fun.  Proceed in the spirit of play, and all will be well.