Well, friends, it's the last day of November and I'm typing this, so I guess I can officially say I completed my first NaBloPoMo! (That's National Blog Posting Month, for those unaware, and involves writing a new blog post every day for a month.) Last night I mentioned to my husband, The Vulcan, that I only had one more post and he said, "And then you'll never do this again..." He's been with me through NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) a couple of times and was really hoping I'd never take on one of these writing marathons again. Then I heard about this blogging challenge and...
NaNoWriMo, which I've probably started about half a dozen times and completely two or three times, takes place every November. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in that month. It's meant to be a freeing exercise, with quality thrown over for quantity. They just want you to write. It always sounds easy. After all, if the writing doesn't have to be good, if the story doesn't have to make sense, it should be a piece of cake, right? Nope. It's actually horribly hard. Believe me, I didn't aim for quality. I literally put down any long, meandering thoughts that entered my brain and just tried to keep my fingers moving. It was hard, I tell you. That 50,000 word goal breaks down to just about 1,300 words a day. That's a lotta words. If you don't believe me, type some random thoughts in a Word document and then have it count them. What you thought were thousands will probably turn out to be 135. Imagine trying 1,300 words every day for a month. Did I mention it's hard?
What about NaBloPoMo? Well, I have to say writing 30 days straight is not easy either. Unlike NaNoWriMo I actually do strive for at least a little bit of quality in my blog. They may be overly wordy posts, full of thoughts and opinions no one cares about, but I do at least attempt proper grammar and spelling. It was impossible to merely sit and let the fingers do the talking and not reread what I'd already gotten down. While blog posts are much shorter than the 1,300 words a day, they also require tinkering to make them readable and maybe even occasionally enjoyable for the audience. They are also full of little time-consuming bits like photos and hyperlinks and such. The advantage was that my subject could change every day, unlike a novel where I just had to pick up the story and keep going. The disadvantage was that I often ran out of things to say. Yes, I could have resorted to that post about cat pee that I threatened on day one. I'm a little amazed I didn't have to. One night I had a blinding headache and could barely see straight, let alone write something worthwhile. That's when a craving for sweet potatoes turned into a quick and easy blog post with recipe. That, my friends, is called pulling something out of your ass. It's also a basic strategy for getting through NaBloPoMo.
Which ultimately is harder then? NaNoWriMo, hands down. I will say, however, that both were challenging and both really did feel like marathons. They both required stamina and pacing and lots of caffeine. The writer inevitably hits the wall, that moment when she feels she can't say anything more, can't type one more sentence, wants to have a life again. The choice is either to throw in the towel (as I did with NaNoWriMo a few years) or push ahead and just keep the fingers running. In 2011, I can proudly say I did the latter.
So, now what? Well, I haven't put up my Christmas decorations yet except for the tree, there's a two inch layer of dust on my piano, and no one has any clean underwear. I guess I'm going back to the real world. Good-bye NaBloPoMo...until next year.
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