I hated Brownies, Girl Scouts, and Girls’ Club. After-school clubs, organizations, or whatever you were supposed to join to add sparkle to your college application–no. And sororities? They scared the hell out of me. Anything that comes with a cheer is instant soul-sucking death. I might have shortened my life expectancy by going to a Mary Kay meeting once. And the facebook groups I have joined and even created make me feel like I’ve gone down a wrong path.
I am not a joiner.
But I love NaNoWriMo. It is the first group thing I’ve participated in that is filled with people I could’ve been friends with in high school. It is temporary. One month and you’re done. I now know people I see once a year–and that’s the way it should be. It is free.
Where else do you get a group of people together with a similar goal/interest/passion, and yet each person goes about it in his or her own unique/quirky/absurd way? Reach 50k or don’t. Nobody cares as long as you’re writing. I know participants who never intend to write fifty thousand words. There is no rule about what to do next. Edit and try to be published. Publish yourself. Hide it away. Delete the whole thing. One fellow finishes his novel and come December first, he deletes the file. He doesn’t write again until November the next year.
The first novel I wrote took years. It was like slogging through a swamp of words in a dense fog. That NaNoWriMo goal, 50k in 30 days, is sunshine on a path. There is no edit and create at the same time. The goal isn’t write a great novel in 30 days. I couldn’t do that. I might never do that no matter how many days I’m given. I’m rewarded and approved of for quantity! That I can do.
The rest of the year is for quality. Hours spent picking over sentences and cutting out scenes and wondering what the point of it all is. Maybe I could say that 11 months of the year is like being a soldier getting ready for inspection and November is shore leave.
What goals do you need to help you write? When was the last time your imagination ran around loose on the page?