Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gloves on a fence post

Sometimes writing seems to make as much sense as gloves on a fencepost. Yet, we keep on putting words down on paper, keep on weaving dreams, keep on telling our stories. Why?

Because, for the writer, writing is like breathing. It's natural, necessary, and if we stop, we no longer live.

NaNoWriMo is a writer's marathon, a high-speed endurance race that can test the limits of our discipline. Why enter? Why push ourselves to write a 50,000 word novel in only 30 days, especially the 30 days preceding a major holiday season for most of us? Why write a book at all? Why put a glove on a fencepost?

Right now, there are 172,000 people running the NaNo marathon. So far, we've cranked out nearly 200,000,000 words. No, that's not a typo. Two hundred million words, words no one's read in the particular order they're laid down in before. 172,000 new books by 172,000 authors, each with a different reason for why they write what they do, each adding a new voice to the literary chorus.

The farmer who picked up an old leather glove from the side of his road and stuck it up on a fencepost was aware of the value of the pair and he hoped the owner would come along and find it. He put it out there in hopes of helping someone else. Pointless? Perhaps. Unless you happen to be the owner of the other half of this expensive pair.

Why do we put our books out there? In hopes of reaching someone, in hopes of giving them something they need? Perhaps we just like the look and feel of what we've written and want to show it off a bit. Maybe someone will come along and retrieve our offering, and maybe not, but we'll keep putting those gloves on the fence posts, and hoping, one day, they find their way home.


For those brave souls working toward the finish line, here is a daily total word-count goal guide to help you know if you're on track for 50,000 by the end of November:

Nov. 1: 1667 words
Day 2: 3334 words
Day 3: 5001 words
Day 4: 6668 words
Day 5: 8335 words
Day 6: 10,002 words
Look that, six days in and you're over 10,000 words!! GO YOU!

Day 7: 11,669 words
Day 8: 13,336 words
Day 9: 15,003 words
Day 10: 16,670 words
Day 11: 18,337 words
Day 12: 20,004
And now you've broken 20,000! You're really rocking now!

Nov. 13: 21, 671 words
Nov. 14: 23, 338 words
Nov. 15: 25,005 words
Half way there! Way to go!!
Nov. 16: 26,672 words
Nov. 17: 28,339 words
Nov. 18: 30,006 words
Another 10,000 words gone... you're in the home-stretch!
Nov. 19: 31,673 words
Nov. 20: 33,340 words
Nov. 21: 35,007 words
Nov. 22: 36,674 words
Nov. 23: 38,341 words
Nov. 24: 40,008 words
Look how far you've come! 40,000! There's no stopping you now!
Nov. 25: 41,675 words
Nov. 26: 43, 342 words
Nov. 27: 45,009 words
Nov. 28: 46,676 words
Nov. 29: 48,343
Nov. 30: 50,000
Fireworks! Light show! Chocolate martini toasts! High-fives all around! It's time to celebrate, you've DONE IT! It's been a long, hard 30 days, but here you are, with your book in hand. Congratulations, AUTHOR! You made it to the finish line.

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