So today is November 1st and that means National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has officially begun. In years past this idea has struck me as strange. I’ve been writing of my own volition for over twenty years. I never understood why gathering together and setting specific numeric goals to get a ton of writing done in the span of thirty days was a good thing. But I certainly couldn’t see how it was a bad thing. I suppose, I just prejudged it as an unnecessary thing. In my mind, you either have the motivation to write or you don’t. No group of individuals can instill that in you.
But then I reflected on the fact that damn near every writer struggles with when to write and how much to write. How many words makes for a productive session? Or the classic excuse that I’ve been guilty of on multiple occasions “I don’t have time to write because I have ________ to do.”
And on that note, I’m going to talk about Youmacon.
The kung-fu school that I train at does security for one of the biggest anime conventions in the country. Every year it’s gotten larger, more amazing, more intense and more fun. I’ve attended Youmacon for five years now (this will be my sixth) and as soon as it’s over I look forward to next year’s craziness. And I’m, not the biggest fan of anime. I’m just someone who loves being a part of an event where lots of people have a great time. Youmacon is this weekend. I plan on being there from November 2nd through November 4th.
But wait! It’s also NaNoWriMo!
That’s right. I’m going to be at Youmacon for three days where I will be running around, keeping the peace, staying alive and having fun. But that’s three days of time which I could have spent writing thousands and thousands of more words.
But I ask myself, where do I draw those words from? From life. From experience. From extraordinary things like Youmacon. Yes, I can see the benefits of participating in NaNoWriMo. But I dare not deny myself the wonderful experience that is Youmacon.
So…simple solution: I’m doing both!
For the first time, I am participating in NaNoWriMo. Will I get to 50,000 words by November 30th? Maybe, maybe not. To me that’s not the most important question. Do I expect to learn something from having this extra bit of motivation hanging over me? Definitely.
NaNoWriMo is a challenge that I am not afraid to answer. And it’s an opportunity to learn something about myself and my skill as a writer that I am not going to pass up. In essence, Youmacon is the same thing. It’s a challenge to make sure everyone is having a good time and an opportunity to learn, garner experience and enjoy life that I am not going to pass up.
Conclusion: I have both an awesome and challenging weekend and month ahead of me. And it is truly a wonderful feeling humming in my heart.