It’s the first of November. Many of you will be setting out on the path that is NaNoWriMo. Some will be clutching a map for this terrain, in the form of an outline you’ve written, detailed character sketches, a calendar filled with targets and rewards or whatever else it is you believe will carry you across the line. Many will have a backpack stuffed with tools and equipment – everything from a special notebook to a thermos filled with coffee. A few will be setting out alone, most will be part of a team of other writers – all battling their own writing challenge, but supported by the company of others in the same boat.
Perhaps, like me, you’ve done this before. But even if you have, each year it is new in as many ways as it is old. Each November brings its own challenges, each plot has different stumbling blocks. And that’s before you’ve changed the goal posts by increasing your target word count, challenging yourself to write a new genre, or changing the way you plan.
Everyone wants something different out of NaNoWriMo, and nobody can tell you that what you want is wrong. That’s why I think it’s a good thing there’s no prizes for winning, and I think it’s a good thing that the only one who can really validate your achievement is you. There are a million ways to win – technically you can write the same word 50,000 times and call it a win. No-one will know. Wrimos set their own goals and determine their own rules. Ultimately, we take part because it is something we want to do and we stand or fall on that basis alone.
At the time of writing, my 2012 NaNoWriMo document doesn’t even exist yet, let alone have 50,000 fresh-pressed words of fiction on it. But my goal is that in 30 days, it will. And I’m going to try to post every Thursday this month with an update on how that’s going, in the face of everything else this month holds. InMon and the Submission series will be taking a backseat until December, but I’d love it if you could stop by and cheer me on!