This election is extremely important. I voted two weeks ago because my state has mail-in ballots. If you have not yet voted, do that. Please. One of my favorite song lyrics is from the Rush song “Freewill”:
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
In other words, if you don’t vote, you are expressing approval for what the majority elects. If that’s Ted Cruz, then you get Ted Cruz.
I consider my situation fortunate and privileged. I dropped my ballot into a box two weeks ago, so I need not interrupt my NaNo writing to vote. No lines greeted me, and if they had, I could’ve dropped my ballot into the mail instead. Today, I feel for the folks who have to wait in long lines because their state, county, or municipality created a situation in which lines are a necessary part of voting. Make no mistake, those lines are engineered to intentionally discourage people from voting.
And so I write today, on Day 6 of NaNo, able to blissfully ignore the news, the polls, the issues, and the candidates. By the end of the day today, I will breach 20k. If it goes quite well, I may hit 25k, which is half a NaNo.
Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to some folks who were waffling about doing NaNo. At this point, if you haven’t started, you still could. You only need to increase the daily goal to 2084 words to make 50k by the 30th. It’s doable if you have the time. Even if you don’t, though, the point of NaNoWriMo is not to get 50,000 words. Which sound weird, since that’s how you win, but hear me out.
The point of National Novel Writing Month is to write. The point is to accomplish something that you consider hard. The point is to look at this thing which is hard, break it into a bunch of smaller goals, and see how those small goals add up to one big one. The point is to grasp the true power of peer pressure for the forces of good and defeat Emperor Palpatine for all time.
If you do that by writing 500 words a day, every day for as many days as you possibly can, then you’ve won. If you do that by using this month to figure out what your writing process is, then you’ve won. If you do that by meeting a bunch of other writery people in your region at write-ins and making a friend or two who’ll support you all year long, then you’ve won. If you do that by gaining confidence in your writing speed, ability, or temperament, then you’ve won.
NaNoWriMo is what you make it. Writing 50k in one month isn’t that big a deal. It’s about typing speed, thinking speed, and time management. Some people type fast. Some people think fast. Some people manage time like mad. Others do not. And that’s fine. Many writers have no use for or interest in NaNo. Not doing it doesn’t make you less of a writer. Doing it doesn’t make you more of one. Winning only means what you want it to.
I don’t do NaNo because it’s a challenge or because I care about winning. I do it because it’s fun. I do it because despite being a lot of hard work, it’s a recharge for my writer batteries to participate. The win is irrelevant.
Write on, if that’s your thing.