NaNoWriMo 2016: A 30 Day Blogging Challenge

“The first words are written. Go on creating your novel. The world needs your novel!” the NaNoWriMo team said in their email. I felt guilty. I hadn’t written any words yet! I hadn’t even started a new novel! I wanted to be part of this community again! People deciding to write 50 000 in 30 days. Those are my people! … I felt left out.

I wanted to take a four week university module which would have taken all of my time away. The registration period was already over. There went my plan for November. In desperate need of a new project I started writing. I need that thrill. I need the excitement. My friends always ask me: “Do you have another ‘project’ at the moment?” I do now. “Last minute, but I do. I’m writing 50 000 words once more. In blog posts. This time without any planning at all.”

Last year I was in a better shape. I was prepared. I wrote 50 000 words and I loved it. I wrote on the trains, I wrote late at night, I put together a story. Since I didn’t have a great novel or even a decent idea, I thought that had to change the following year. I wanted to start preparing in August. September went by. October. Today I find myself at my laptop typing the first words of this year’s NaNoWriMo. Spontaneous.

I don’t know what it is about late autumn and winter that drives my creativity. I love it when the nights get cold and crispy leaves fly around, when you walk through seas of red and yellow. I love sitting with a hot cup of tea inside, a blanket around me. Listening to an audiobook and knitting. Now I’m sitting here with a laptop. Coming up with ideas. Writing every silly little thing down. With a bullet point in front of it. Bullet points add seriousness.

New projects make you excited in the first days. Around day 20 last year I had a creative breakdown. I couldn’t write another word. I was exhausted. I wanted to say: “Screw it, I’m not doing it anymore. Here, have all these pages, I’m quitting.” Print them all out, dramatically rip them into small pieces, throw them across the room and shut the door. I haven’t done that, because I do not like to kill trees.

I usually see myself as a quitter. I am not. I finish things, late, but I do. I finished that painting, that jumper, that song, that book I didn’t want to read another page of. I would appreciate if you sent me some inspiring quotes or encouraging messages, though. Or topics you would like me to write about. It would mean the world to me.

Last year I wrote in German. This year I’m writing in English. I noticed that you can write a lot more words in German. Our words are longer, our sentences are, too. We can give you an hourlong presentation that we want the steaming cup of coffee over there. We can talk to you for ten minutes when we actually just want you to hand us the salt. Germans… In Swedish it’s the same, by the way. Maybe that’s why I love learning this language. You can write beautiful sentences with 50 nouns and 13829 adjectives. That’s also why Germans adore commas. We use them to create scrapbook sentences. Commas are our tape.

I might be writing streams of consciousness. I have to get those 1666 words together every day. My main goal is to write down the rants about the environment I have flying around in my head. I have an urgency to write them down. My only restriction will be that the posts are at least 1600 words long.

You can only become an author through writing. Write every day. Write when you have a free afternoon. Write when you have no time at all. Write when all you want to do is lie in bed. Write despite all circumstances. Writers always find time for their passion. The concept of NaNoWriMo is beautiful. You type and count. You write everything in you. Then you are clean for another year. You turn on the tap, let the water flow and then you can start writing the good stuff. Another aspect of NaNoWriMo is that you do not review your texts instantly. You write them and do not go over them again until you are finished. That’s not that easy with blog posts. It usually takes more time to edit my texts than to write them. I don’t plan. I have an idea, an inspiration, sometimes a quote or a topic I am fascinated in. I write them down. When I add the last word I realise that I have repeated myself over and over. Then the fun part begins. Deleting every second sentence. Trying to put it in an order that is comprehensible. Having someone read it and say if I have written a labyrinth through which only I know the way.

“Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.”

Oh Mark Twain, you were so right. I would love to have a small voice in my head guiding me to these wrong words. A spectator who knows exactly which portion of what I have written is wrong.

To all of you who are accepting the challenge of NaNoWriMo out there, I am applauding you. You are awesome and I believe in your ability to finish this project. There will always be people to encourage you. It’s a lovely community of talented and strong people who will build you up. It’s a worthwhile experience. I did it last year and I’m coming back. Couldn’t have been that bad last time. It is my passion to write, to tell stories, to learn.

I love the talk Elizabeth Gilbert gave about creativity. Some people have a burning passion. Some people do not have only one thing that makes them get up in the morning. They follow wherever curiosity leads them. Like little hummingbirds they fly from one flower to the next. In “Big Magic” she explains how her novel “The Signature of All Things” came to life. She developed an interest in gardening. Planted flowers and vegetables. She wanted to know their origins and did some research. She noticed that it could be a novel. By simply following a small interest, she set the basis for another book. Isn’t that beautiful?

My passions are mainly in art and the environment. I will write about these in the next 30 days. I am a hummingbird taking on this year’s NaNoWriMo in blog form.

Happy writing and see you tomorrow!

Current Word Count: 1753/ edited: 1135

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