NaNoWriMo Revisited, or Take a Leap

I came across a great quote the other day: “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” It’s like asking someone what they would do if they won the lottery: endless possibilities. In this case, it would be a supermarket sweep of hopes and dreams.

Those hopes and dreams are up on the shelves right now, just waiting for us. The job promotions, the new hair styles, the love of your life waiting to be found, the 10 pounds waiting to be lost. Every day without even knowing it, we meander down the mental aisles. Like squeezing melons, examining ingredients, looking for “sell by” dates, we are constantly evaluating our actions and non-actions based on an unspoken set of criteria lodged inside us over time. What if I don’t have what it takes? What if I look stupid? What if I’m not good enough? What if I fail?

Here’s another great quote (yeah, I’m full of them today):

“Leap and the net will appear”

Pretty zen, eh? But think about it. We poke holes in our hopes and dreams with our insecurities until they look flimsy and unstable. And man, does the ground beneath them look hard and unforgiving. But if we are brave enough to leap into the unknown, we are smart enough to figure out the net that will hold us aloft, buoy us to the great reward waiting.

So why all the fancy pep talk this morning? I don’t know. I just threw my hat in the ring again for NaNoWriMo 2012 and it got me all psyched up. For those who are not familiar with it, November’s Na(tional)No(vel)Wri(ting)Mo(nth) is like a marathon for writers, our own personal Everest as we watch our stats climb to the 50K mark. Along with 300,000 other brave and crazy creative types, I will attempt to write a 50K novel in 30 days. Zero excuses! I successfully completed last year’s NaNo and walked away with the beginnings of a really cool series I hope to someday complete. Oh, and a T-shirt. NaNoWriMo doesn’t have a grand prize winner – there are no confetti cannons or casino slot machine sirens blaring when you hit that 50K. Yes, many published novels began as NaNoWriMo projects – Water for Elephants and The Night Circus are just two examples. But many of the 300,000 writers do it simply for the challenge and the comradery.

Last year, 256,618 people participated in NaNoWriMo and 36,774 “won” the challenge by hitting the 50K goal. I don’t look at the other 219,844 as people who “lost” or failed – I see them as people who leaped and grabbed onto really cool, inventive and beautiful nets of their own making.

I could very well fail this year – no guarantee. But I’m willing to take the leap. NaNoWriMo is going in my shopping cart for November, and I hopefully to whiz down the aisles to victory and creativity. What do you want to put your cart this month, or before the year is over?

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month 2012

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  • Kristine

    If you’ve got the story simmering somewhere, toss it in the pot and make up some hot NaNoWriMo stew, mama! Very inspirational, post, Jess.

    • jesstopper

      Thanks, Kris! You never know when inspiration may strike…

  • Chris Kenworthy

    It’s almost Nano time! Good luck.

    • jesstopper

      Thanks – you too!