I just signed up for NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month; an online (and sometimes in-person) movement that encourages writing by offering a sense of community to this normally very solitary process.
I did it because I've been thinking about it ever since I met Karen and she told me all about it and shared her amazing and creative novel idea.
And now she's dead.
She never finished her story.
I did it because that was 4 years ago and I don't know if I have a story in me or not, but I might have something in between all the little shards of this year of wind and fire and sun and rain.
I did it because I want to improve. The only way to do this is to practice, like drawing or dancing. It's okay fall down sometimes. If a toddler were overcome with discouragement at failure the way adults seem to be, no child would ever learn to run. But yet babies fall all the time and get up and keep trying.
"What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down."
And so this is my year of falling.
And I did it because it is said that writing prolifically and frequently liberates some portion of the self that cannot be unlocked without regular forays into the depths of the soul.
A writer friend eloquently supported this logic during a recent discussion: "I feel strongly that the act of writing every day, whether you produce poetry, prose, or putrescence, is valuable. To me, it's not just the practice of stringing words together; it's practice at entering that realm where I can see the story."
And of course, NaNoWriMo says (on why we should bother):
Aiming low is the best way to succeed. With entry-level novel writing, shooting for the moon is the surest way to get nowhere. With high expectations, everything you write will sound cheesy and awkward. Once you start evaluating your story in terms of word count, you take that pressure off yourself. And you'll start surprising yourself with a great bit of dialogue here and a ingenious plot twist there. Characters will start doing things you never expected, taking the story places you'd never imagined. There will be much execrable prose, yes. But amidst the crap, there will be beauty. A lot of it.
. . .
Art for art's sake does wonderful things to you. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to take naps and go places wearing funny pants. Doing something just for the hell of it is a wonderful antidote to all the chores and "must-dos" of daily life. Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.
Want to join me? It's not too late. There's a whole month in front of us.