That's because November is National Novel Writing Month. If you never knew there was a National Novel Writing Month, well, it can’t be that much of a surprise, can it? There’s a National Something Day/Week/Month ALL of the darn time. Literally, there is not one day of the year that the USA isn’t celebrating something. For instance, although it is also novel-writing month, we recently enjoyed National Chocolate Cupcake Day. This comes one day before National Vanilla Cupcake Day, which comes two days before – and this is my favorite – National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day. There are so many "special" days, it feels like a form of madness.
Today is the last day of National Novel Writing Month or, as it is more widely known, NaNoWriMo. Twenty-nine days ago, thousands of writers from all across the world challenged themselves to write a complete 50,000 word novel in one month. ONE MONTH, I say, astonished. Many of those brave souls signed up at the official site, where they also had the option to join a support group in their own region, and were encouraged to award themselves one of several participant badges (e-badges, not cloth-badges). Some of those bold scribes went ahead and purchased a 2016 NaNoWriMo “Winner” t-shirt, proclaiming their book-length success before their novels were completed. As a result, the 2016 NaNoWriMo “Winner” t-shirts are currently sold out. That's golden, if you ask me, because a writer needs an unreasonable level of confidence to achieve this month's goal.
(Before we go on, don't be too disappointed if you failed to order your pre-victory t-shirt in time. I’m certain the NaNoWriMo marketing team have ordered several more cartons of the things. If you’re not a t-shirt kind of gal, the organization also offers a “Write Every Day” writing journal, as well as a Astro-Novelist coffee mug that proclaims, “Your Novel. Your Universe.” There’s a variety of items at the site, each offering solid encouragement, because that's the NaNoWriMo mindset. People don't go to that website to be told they can't do something. That's what my website is for.)
If you’re wondering why Glynn and I didn’t sign up for the NaNoWriMo competition on November 1st, it’s not because we're afraid of a challenge. We bow to no one when it comes to taking a dare. Whether we're subjecting ourselves to deprivation (our horrible year of Eating Only Healthy Things comes to mind) or degradation (I will forever carry the image of poor Glynn, striding the beach in his micro-Speedo), we're in. If the quest seems doable, we're ready.
But that’s the thing, you see. It has to be doable for us to want to try. While many hundreds of writers will succeed in their NaNoWriMo task, we already know we can’t write a completed novel in a single month.
I state this with confidence because Glynn and I were asked to write a 30 day/50,000 word volume before we'd ever heard of NNWMo. (Yes, I’m now abbreviating the NaNoWriMo abbreviation. Time is money.) Once upon a time, on the strength of a pitch and a vague story outline, we were contracted to write a 50,000 mystery novel. Later, check in the bank, we were surprised when the editor contacted us, asking us if we could please complete our manuscript in a month's time. She told us another writer had suddenly bailed on his promise, there was a gap in the series' publishing schedule, and she needed our book ASAP. Taking a few minutes to calculate our average words per page x average daily pages x available days + rewrite, we soon figured out = no way on Earth. We assured her we'd get the story done in ninety days, per the contract, and that's what happened. We used every day we were given, too.
When another editor bit on a different pitch, a story outline, and a completed opening chapter to a science fiction novel, we couldn’t produce that 75,000 word manuscript in 30 days, either, despite her wish to have it in hand as soon as possible. That time we needed four months. We were working on it seven days a week, twelve hours a day, and couldn't provide a quality story any more quickly. We just aren't very fast.
We’re simply not NNWMo material. Somehow, I suspect we’re not the only ones, which gives me an idea. If any of the NNWMo administrators jog past this website, I hope you'll contact me. Not to discuss if I'd like to sign up next year, no. That's not happening. Instead, I’d like the NNWMo marketing rights for those writers who can’t hit the 30-day mark; you know, my people. Send over the contracts, and AnneGlynn.com will soon offer 2017 NNWMo “Gave Up Already!” t-shirts, a nicely-designed “Procrastinate Every Day” writing journal, and a set of “Why Did I Even Try?”, “Failure to Launch”, and “Houston, We Have a Problem” Astro-Novelist mugs.
Because, Team NNWMo, you've already got the overachievers in your corner. It's time you thought about the rest of us.