Maybe for some of you readers in the United States, November means Thanksgiving and football, cooler weather and family time. But here at Something Worth Reading, November means National Novel Writing Month. Last year, I issued a daily writing challenge and before that we’ve done a First Lines and Titles game. But this year I’m going to go all out. This is the year we write a whole novel! Go big or go home!
No, wait. Come back! Here’s what we’re really going to do. This month, I’d like you to think about committing to writing something this month, start to finish. You decide what it is, how long it needs to be, the audience, all those parameters. It could be a poem or a personal history, a letter to the editor or your Congressional representative, an elegy to a lost loved one, a short story, a paper on the Irish diaspora, a happy memory, a revenge fantasy involving your boss and a box of matches– anything at all. The same things you like about reading– learning about other people, escaping from your own life for a while, playing pretend– are present in writing as well (though, yeah, it’s a little harder). Give it a try.
Here’s what you do: leave a comment on THIS POST RIGHT HERE describing what you’d like to write this month (“I’m going to write down my favorite birthday with my grandmother.”). I’ve committed to finish the rough draft of a novel by the end of the year, so I’ll be working on finishing the second and third sections (out of five) this month. Every day, I’ll post an excerpt of my daily work (it will probably be VERY ugly, so you can feel encouraged. :)) or a little thought about writing or the creative process or some other kind of motivation. Then at the end of the month, EVERY PERSON WHO MEETS THEIR GOAL WILL GET A PRIZE. I mean, the real prize will be the satisfaction you’ll feel at having accomplished your goal, but you’ll also get something more tangible. (I haven’t decided what the prize will be yet. It will depend largely on how many winners there are and how well I know them and what I think they will enjoy.) So you decide for yourself whether or not you’re going to win.
I’m excited to hear about all your projects. I hope you’ll join me this month. I really believe that anyone can write. I even believe that anyone with sufficient determination can write well. So give it a shot! What’s the worst that can happen? Even if you fail spectacularly (I’m not sure that’s possible. What would that even look like?), who has to know? And, having done it once, you can try again and at least “fail better” the next time.
To recap, here’s what you do:
1. Tell me what you’re going to write.
2. Write it.
3. Tell me that you wrote it.
4. Win a prize.
Go forth and write!
PS To any LDS Young Women who happen to read this: this would make an excellent Knowledge Project for Personal Progress. It will absolutely take you ten hours.