Autumn is always one of those special times of the year. Fall leaves swirling down around you as you walk down the sidewalk, dazzling in a brilliant display of reds, yellows, and pale greens. That light fog in the early morning adding an extra layer of enchantment to the morning, or breaking out the fuzzy socks and sweaters as you curl up in front of the fireplace with your favorite book.
It’s also a time for the back to school rush, twelve consecutive days of sleet and everyone’s favorite, slipping down the front steps on that first icing. Anyone can romanticize snow, howling winds or crazy fog conditions, but cracking your head on the concrete steps at twenty miles an hour, nope.
So remember to salt your steps. And while we’re waiting for jack frost with a parka and a gallon of anti-freeze, there’s an added element to the fall we enjoy. It adds an extra zing to the annual ‘stock up on tea and caffeine accessories’ of the fall. It’s the National Novel Writers Month.
What is National Novel Writers Month (or NaNoWriMo for short) you ask?
It’s an annual assemblage of nerds, novelists and book lovers galore who return every November to create the NaNoWriMo community. They usually spend the next thirty days scrambling over themselves to meet the 50,000-word goal by November 30th without forgetting to pay the bills or their name or to feed the cat and pick the kids up from the vet.
It isn’t always pretty. But it’s always fun, and it always brings the NaNo’ers back by the thousands. Is it worth it? Does anyone ever finish anything? Can you really get a novel written or even published by taking on this crazy one month challenge?
In a word: yes, you can.
If it’s worth it may be another matter. The successful NaNo’er is usually a closet thrill seeker who relishes in the extreme. They often cut out an entire month from their life to detach from the world and pour into a single project, usually with several weeks ahead of planning, plotting, sometimes outlining, and always stocking up on that extra stash of tea and pre-made meals.
To the casual NaNoer its just a fun way to explore a creative interest or lifelong hobby, and make the fall that much more special. You get in touch with NaNoer’s from all over the country. Other adventurers and novel lovers who share your passion, challenges and secret dream to make that next great American novel. And while most won’t achieve that dream, they still get an opportunity to create, explore, and share whole worlds.
NaNoWriMo is that special time of year where all good nerds come together to defy reality and tell themselves they can. Despite the late nights, the crazy work schedule, managing the kids and the bills and the grad-paper, they cut out that odd hour or two a day to make their dreams take life on paper.
And while it may seem like a waste of time to the more sane members of society, to the literary of heart its the highlight of the season. And a lot of them do cross that finish line with their goals met and exceeded. And maybe just maybe, they are one of those lucky few who strikes gold and is dubbed a winner. But even if you’re not, to a NaNoer, the experience is the win.
Derek Nehring was homeschooled through High School, is in his Senior year of college majoring in Economics and Math, serves in the Nat Guard and enjoys reading, outdoor activities, coffee, and his sarcastic (very funny) family.