As is tradition, with the beginning of November comes the beginning of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, the challenge to every writer to complete a full novel in a month. No easy feat. I was enrolled in a creative writing class at Penn State the first time I heard about the occasion. One of my fellow class members asked if we were to participate as a class. I was daunted by the task at the very mention of it and terrified that my grade may be attached to such a seemingly insurmountable task. I had an awesome professor who sensed my hesitancy and encouraged me to continue regardless. Ever since, I’ve revisited the challenge most Novembers.
Now, that is not to say that I’ve actually been successful at writing a novel in a month. But I like to think that I exercise my writing muscles by taking on a new writing-related challenge every November. This very blog was born out of a similar challenge, though not specifically aligned with NaNoWriMo, in which my friend Tiffany, who writes Learning at 30, and I would write every day for 30 days, or #write30. If you’ve been reading the blog for this long, it would thus not surprise you to know that it was Tiffany who asked how we should participate this year.
What we landed on is that we would write 500 words, or the length of a blog post, a day for the next month. We’ve allowed ourselves two days to be noncompliant without considering the goal trashed. This was born specifically with the thought of election day in mind. I happen to be one of the individuals who works at my local polling place. The day is quite long, a labor physically, mentally, and potentially emotionally. As we were setting up the guidelines I considered that there would be no way I can complete a blog post on that day.
I like these challenges because no matter what the final product is at the end of the time period—or the end of my compliance with the challenge—I always come out with a renewed vigor for writing. Those times that I have failed can result in even more enthusiasm on my part because the act of failing is uncomfortable. In that discomfort my brain runs through possible solutions, problem solving so that I come up with several new opportunities or options by the time I concede defeat.
Regardless of what your writing practices may be over the next 30 days, whether you choose to challenge yourself or not, I wish you the best of luck in creating over the next few weeks!