November as a month is one that normally means two things: my brother’s birthday and my father’s birthday. Apart from these two significant events, it is a wholly unremarkable month. There are no Korean holidays. It is not the beginning or end of any season, but it does mean the end of the ROK-U Ultimate season (sniff). November 2016 is set to be drastically different, all due to one simple hashtag – #NaNoWriMo2016.
For those who are wondering if I my mind has finally succumbed to the numerous pulls on my sanity and I have begun spouting gibberish, fear not. National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, is a movement that began in 1999. Its goal and purpose is simple – every year, aspiring novelists all around the world take up the challenge to complete an entire 50,000 word first draft of a novel during the month of November. It is a concept that caught my attention a couple of years ago, and was always one of those things that I said: “I should do that next year!” but never got around to. Until this year.
This year, I decided that the stars have sufficiently aligned in order to give me the highest possible chance of success. So, a week ago, I committed on Twitter to conquering the monemental task of 50,000 words in 30 days. Since then, I have been immersing myself in as many videos and articles about writing and NaNoWriMo as I possibly can. Yesterday, I sketched out the basic storyline and did character outlines for five characters. I am giving myself as few ways out as possible.
I do all of these things because I know myself. I have seen the story so many times. I begin with an earnest, heart-felt committal to better myself in some way. This could be achieving legend in Hearthstone, becoming a gaming streamer, or making myself into an eSports journalist. And yet, when things get a little tough, when I reach that first hurdle, I will turn around and say, “Well, I guess that wasn’t for me after all.” I’ll quit. And I’ll generally feel fine with myself for a little while afterwards, until the next hot idea burns its way into my head.
Not this time though. I have had the honour of a loving fiancee working hard full-time while I mess around in part-time work with the excuse that I am following my dreams. For the month of November, that will actually be perfectly accurate. Even if nothing comes of the novel – it can sit on my computer in first draft forever – but when I sit on the 31st of November with at least 50,000 shiny, new, creative, probably moderately unreadable words forming what I hope to be a coherent story, I will have proven that I can actually do the things I set out to do. I will show myself that I am more than just a lazy ass who plays games all day and sometimes writes about them and life and stuff. And with a few months left of part-time work before I have to re-evaluate my priorities for next year, that motivation could be what I need to take the next step and complete those goals I’ve failed to do up until now.
November will be a long, hard month. Although I only have to write about 1667 words per day to stay on track (about 3 times my usual blog post on here), I know that having to do so every day will be a challenge unlike any I’ve faced this year. There will be times when I want to kill my characters. There will be times when I don’t want to kill my characters but I’ll have to. There will be times when my cat will walk across the keyboard and delete my last half hour’s work and I’ll want to punt him across the room. And yet, I know that if I push through the hardships, I will have created a story that I’m proud to share (after many edits, of course). More importantly, I will have given myself something I have doubted up until now – the knowledge that I have the drive wthin me to complete my lofty goals after all. So bring on #NaNoWriMo2016. I’m ready. I think.