November means a lot to some people. For some, it’s No Shave November (Pah, only a month of not shaving? Try a coupla years and then get back to me!), for some it’s hoodie season, for some it’s Thanksgiving month, for retail it’s the frantic beginning of the more-stuff-than-we-can-possibly-fit-in-the-stock-room and Black Friday month.
And for some, it’s the chaos that is NaNoWriMo. For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, I’m so sorry your life isn’t complete yet.
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s a 30 day-long challenge to write a 50,000 word novel. Easy, right? For some, it’s a cake walk. For others, it’s like wrestling through barbed wire while a flock of chickens peck at you. Seasoned writers will be able to finish in no time, while casual and new writers, or just people interested to see if they can do it, will be scrambling for the finish line.
Now, at the end of the month if you do reach 50,000 words, you won’t win any prizes, you won’t have a publishable novel. Not even close. But you WILL have a rough draft. That is, in itself, a prize. At the end of the month, you sit back, detox from the absurd amounts of caffeine, and think “Whoa. I just wrote a book.” And it’s THIS in which the spirit of NaNoWriMo thrives.
My first NaNoWriMo was in 2008, and it was such a great experience that boosted my already-flourishing love for writing. At the time, I didn’t know it, but now that I’m who I am, I can see it clearly: this is a case of Awen overload.
Awen overload isn’t bad. It’s actually a great exercise, because a LOT of people don’t even have that much Awen flowing through them. There are those of us who WANT to write a book desperately, but have no motivation. HERE’S YOUR MOTIVATION! NaNoWriMo!
It’s a case of Awen for me, because you sit down with a blank slate in front of you and start chiseling away with only time and your own creativity pushing you onward. And out of the darkness comes a STORY. Whether it’s good or bad doesn’t matter, because it’s a creative experience. YOU are CREATING something. A new world, new people. And that is amazing.
Awen is the creative force that flows through the universe, the force that CREATES the universe. That creates everything. In our beings, what the Awen does for us is helps us create everything we create. Children, dinner, music, writing. And it takes practice to be able to invoke the Awen on command. A lot of it, for me, is motivation.
I find I can write better when I have not only a reason, but also a community. Thanks to the internet, these things like NaNoWriMo happen, and it’s also because of the internet that we can connect with other WriMos around the world, support each other, bounce off ideas, share in the chaotic flow of Awen together.
Not a fiction writer? Are you a songwriter? Or aspiring to be? A bard? Well, you’re in luck! There are also songwriting challenges. In the month of February is February Album Writing Month (FAWM). It’s pretty much like NaNoWriMo, but you’re writing 14 complete songs in 28 days. And there’s also the FAWM offshoot 50/90, where you write 50 songs in 90 days.
There are a ton of other different challenges inspired (with Awen!) by NaNoWriMo. Scriptfrenzy, children’s writing challenges, I’m pretty sure there’s a visual arts one, too! And I think these challenges are a blessing to humanity. They invoke the Awen in thousands–if not millions–of people. They help people create things!
Have you created anything today?