Nano, Nano, it's off to work I go

By Anne Devereux

Hallo everyone, I’m Anne Devereux and I’m very pleased to meet you all. Thanks so much to Jojo for inviting me to contribute! I’m a published author from Toronto, Canada and I hope you enjoy my blog posts. I skulk regularly on Twitter as @pirateannie. Arrr.

There’s something about November that scares me. It’s not the sudden onset of colder weather, with its annoyances such as my car refusing to start, and the train being fifteen minutes late due to a frozen switch. It’s not having to get up while it’s still pitch black outside. It’s not even the fact that the month includes my birthday, which this year is one of those frightful numbers that end in zero. No, none of these things give me pause. There is only one thing about this month that puts the fear of God into me, every single year, and it’s an acronym which I’m sure every writer that reads this blog is familiar with: NaNoWriMo.

For the uninitiated, that stands for National Novel Writing Month. Conveniently, No can also stand for November, which is when the wise founders of this annual event decided to hold it. Every October 31, legions of would-be novelists (and some actual novelists) crouch at the starting gate, nostrils flaring, pulses racing, hooves stomping as they wait for the clock to tick over to November 1 ... and they’re off! The race to complete a 50,000 word novel by November 30 is on. Families are ignored, dinners go cold, Starbucks shares skyrocket as the days and weeks roll by. If you make it to the end of the month without being served with divorce papers or a pink slip, you’re a winner in my book.

This is only my second year. Nano 2008 gave me my first novel, Angel Falls, a Young Adult fantasy romance. I spent the next year expanding, revising and editing my novel, and now it’s neck-deep in the query process. This year I’m going for an adult mainstream novel, and for the first time I’m plotting instead of pantsing. I’m also using the first person, something new for me.

Nano is a wild and curious beast which requires an almost superhuman strength of will to wrestle to the ground. The strange truth, however, is that there’s an almost mystical power in that November 30 deadline. It brings out the best in all of us, and gives us the ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds. For example, right now I’m writing this at work, on Monday morning while fending off two demanding bosses, multitasking like a Type A octopus, printing forests of recycled trees, answering emails, reformatting documents, finalizing accounts and fooling around with my husband on MSN (you didn’t read that last item; your imagination is running away with you). All this with one eye on the clock because I know this blog post is due before noon (it’s currently 11:17 am). If that weren’t enough, my Nano word count goal for today is 1667. How many words have I written so far? You guessed it: zero. Pressure? What pressure?!

But somehow I know without a shadow of a doubt that I’ll make my word goal for today. Don’t ask me how, because right now I have no idea, but I will make it - the Power of Nano compels me. And for the rest of this month, regardless of my fulltime job, commute, husband, children, dog, cat, and all the other sundry distractions of life, my mind will be ceaselessly focused on getting that word count in at all costs. It’s not going to be easy - I have chatty co-workers to avoid, filing to shirk and laundry to be ignored - but I’m determined. If I can just finish this blog ... and if my co-worker would just stop humming and clucking every five seconds ... if the printer would stop churning out paper behind me ... and if my boss would stop glaring at me ... ah well. As long as there’s fresh coffee, I’m golden.

P.S. Posting this at 11:55 am ... 5 minutes short of the deadline. Score!

My Blogs

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  1. Welcome Anne! I love your comment about multitasking - including sending naughty messages to your husband while you're both at work! ;)

    Good luck! I tried it last year and didn't make it - by a long shot. I knew I wasn't ready for it this year - so I'm going at my own pace. But I so admire what the Nano participants do. It's just a wonderful, creative excercise!

    Cheers and looking forward to your future posts!


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