Yay NaNoWriMo November!
On December 1, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, will end for another year.
NaNoWriMo started in the San Francisco Bay Area, but it’s become international. The challenge is to write a 50 000 word novel in one month. I don’t remember what year I started to attempt to do this. I had it in my head that I started when I was university. Looking at the history of NaNoWriMo and how it developed, I can see now that I must have started later…definitely post-stroke.
Why, in God’s Name…
I like to write. I started writing fiction when I was eight years old. I don’t write nearly enough of it. I know that’s partially because I tend to edit as I write, and that bogs me down very quickly when I’m writing fiction. But when you have to write 1667 words a day just to ensure that you’ll reach 50 000 words by the end of November, there’s no time to edit as you write. Some people work from outlines, but I just write and see where the story takes me. Usually it’s far from where I thought I’d go with it. And that’s a lot of fun. It’s a pressure-filled month, but it’s a fun month.
And yet I’d never hit 50 000 words. I was always getting a little closer every year…but life just always kept me from getting to the 50 000 word mark and getting that official “NaNoWriMo Winner” badge for my website.
I’ll have it this year, as I got to 50 000 words last night. Finished with a couple of days to spare. At last.
What Does This Have to Do With Disabilities?
Nothing, really. Except that I think that it’s really, really important, for people that acquire physical disabilities, to look for ways to keep doing the things that they love to do.
I love to write. Lucky for me, that doesn’t require any adaptations. I can use my computer. Hand-writing was difficult for a while. When I have to write quickly (like take notes in a meeting), I don’t cross ‘t’s or dot ‘i’s, because I’m still a little slower than everyone. But I type fairly quickly. Even if I didn’t, there’s excellent voice recognition software on the market. There’s no reason for me not to write if that’s what I want to do.
I also love to dance. I had to work myself up to signing up for ballet class, that’s for sure. But I saw quickly that it was really a matter of expectations. If I’d gone in expecting to be able to dance like I used to, I would have been disappointed. That simply wasn’t going to happen. That was a little difficult to accept, yes. But it also felt really good just to be dancing again, in the capacity that I could manage. When I could keep my focus on that – wow, those Saturday mornings at the ballet barre were fun.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be fun. When I can silence my inner critic and just go with the flow, in life and in writing…I never know where I’ll end up.
(P.S. Thanks to everybody who cheered me on in my NaNoWriMo writing this year! I couldn’t have done it without you!)
More about NaNoWriMo: http://www.nanowrimo.org/