November 1st may not seem like anything special to most people except as a time to recover from a sugar hangover or an opportunity to begin transitioning from Halloween to Thanksgiving decorations. Nevertheless, it marks the beginning of a month that will motivate and inspire tens of thousands of people to pursue a dream. For November first, is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for those of us in the know. It is the beginning of a month that will challenge people around the world to put aside their excuses and do something that most others only talk about doing.
NaNoWriMo offers the challenge to write 50,000 words in the month of November. No editing and no excuses just putting a story down on paper…or computer as the case may be. Come November 30th when participants have achieved that lofty goal, they have the privilege of downloading a certificate clearly letting the world know that they are a WINNER. There is no monetary prize. No big celebration given in their honor. There is only the sense of accomplishment.
What NaNoWriMo really does, however, is to give those of us who have talked about writing a book, but who never seem to get around to it , the push we need to stop making excuses and just do it. You’ve heard the excuses: “I have a great idea for a book, but ___________ (fill in the blank). We all have a million reasons (read: excuses) for not achieving a goal that sits off in the distance, just out of reach. Last year, I accepted the NaNoWriMo challenge. I’ve been writing short stories and business articles forever, but had never attempted to write a novel. My excuses were that I didn’t think that I could come up with enough detail and the inevitable “I’m busy” excuse. The problem was that my excuses still left me unsatisfied. I knew that I had a book in me. NaNoWriMo challenged me to dare to follow my dream. I finally decided that if I tried and failed it would be better than never trying at all.
On November 25th last year, I completed my 50,000 words needed to have ‘won’ the challenge. My book was far from complete, but I had accomplished something that I had only dreamed of up until that time. It was one of the most liberating experiences I have ever had. Furthermore, it has sparked a level of creativity in me that hasn’t been there since childhood. It is also the reason why I wanted to help bring Wonderland Odyssey to life. In many ways our heroine, Alice, is fighting her own battle against excuses. She is, after all, only human.
Perhaps you aren’t interested in writing the next great novel. On the other hand, maybe you have a dream that you have been putting off, finding first one excuse then another to justify why you haven’t tried. If so, don’t wait. Don’t let those negative little voices in your head keep you from following your dreams. You can do it! All you have to do is to believe in yourself more than you believe in the excuses.
For more information about National Novel Writing Month visit http://www.nanowrimo.org