I am a big weenie.
This month, for the second year in a row since hearing about it, I will not be participating in National Novel Writing Month. I was first introduced to NaNoWriMo by my friend, Shell, who is a wonderful writer and someone I can actually imagine painlessly churning out an entirely brilliant and socially relevant novel in thirty days. I can picture her right now, sitting behind her keyboard, wrapped in a wool sweater and entertaining a tasteful number of apt metaphors in her head as she sips cinnamon nutmeg coffee and breathes life into an array of vivid characters with names like “Thermo Finnigan” and “Liliana DuChesne”.
Last year, I was very close. From the start, I was enchanted with the idea behind NaNoWriMo. Just write. Write anything. Write madly. Write freely. Just fill up the pages, and let that irritating Inner Critic take a month-long vacation to the Bahamas. Doesn’t it sound delightful? And to make the journey even more worthwhile, NaNoWriMo provides an entire community of fellow writers who are on it with you! Think of it: comparing word counts, bouncing ideas off of each other, bemoaning the stubborn character or plot line that just won’t do what you want and then beating it into submission with helpful suggestions from other novelists. How invigorating! Yes, it was a good dream, while it lasted.
I signed up at the website; I sketched out a basic plot and made notes on characters; I even went so far as to do some internet research on the small Midwestern town featured in chapter one of my aspiring novel.
Three days into November, I choked. It was that Inner Critic again! I thought he was Bahamas-bound; he even packed a suitcase and made a big show of catching a cab to the airport, but in reality he stuck around and kept creeping up behind me, reading over my shoulder, slowing me down and cramping me up, until, a few thousand words into the challenge, it became clear that I was not going to get anywhere close to 50,000 words. So…I threw in the towel. I was only saved from embarrassment by the fact that I hadn’t told anyone but Paul what I was doing (which makes this a confession, of sorts.)
That was a year ago, and November has come round again already. This year, reading Shell’s excited post as she prepares to dive in once more, I felt that same twinge of longing, but quickly squashed it down and reconciled myself to cheering from the sidelines.
And then I stumbled across NaBloPoMo.
National Blog Posting Month, a spin-off of NaNoWriMo, was started by well-known blogger M. Kennedy, of Fussy-dot-org. It only has one rule: Update your blog every day for the month of November. That’s it. No minimum length. No content guidelines. You can write about your Aunt Josephine or the comparative merits of different pumpkin pie spices or the fact that you had broccoli for dinner. Write a full-length essay or a single sentence. It doesn’t matter. Just post.
I think I might be up to that.
Of course, I’ll still try to send my inner critic away, at least on short errands to replenish my Diet Coke supply and scope out new sushi restaurants. After all, I started a blog so that I would write, and that’s all. No one said it had to be Shakespeare (or even Erma Bombeck.) But too often I find myself identifying with Elizabeth Bennett’s sardonic utterance to Mr. Darcy: “We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room.”
So here we go. I can’t promise it will be something amazing, but I promise it will be something.
Just out of curiosity, how many one-sentence posts about broccoli do you think I can get away with?