Time to strap on that climbing keyboard

Nov. 01, 2013 @ 02:10 PM

For a while, I thought good sense might prevail.

I’ve got too much on my plate, I thought. I’m busy with the new baby, expanded job responsibilities and catching up (at last!) on the final season of “Breaking Bad.”

How could I possibly have time to churn out 50,000 words of a novel in November?

So, as the days grew shorter and colder with the calendar’s relentless march through October, I watched friends post on Facebook and Twitter about their National Novel Writing Month plans.

That seemed so impractical.

Readers may recall that I pulled it off last year, but that was when I covered the K-12 education beat. That was before the wedding, before taking on added responsibilities at the newspaper and before John Michael, our tiny whirlwind of change.

I just don’t have time for it, I reasoned.

That might be good sense. Perfectly pragmatic. But it also entirely misses the point of the NaNoWriMo enterprise.

The goal, pursued by about 200,000 people, is write every day for 30 days – hopefully at a pace of 1,700 words a day so that you manage to hit the final deadline.

Some days, you might double that average. Sometimes, because life happens, you might not break zero.

Juggling all those important responsibilities while chasing the muse toward a hard and fast deadline – that’s the point.

It’s all about challenging yourself to climb a literary mountain of your own creation.

Even if you don’t finish, you can see how far the road can take you. Maybe you’ve never attempted creative writing before, but that doesn’t matter: NaNoWriMo is an excellent excuse to try something new.

But if it was easy, millions would be doing it.

Anyone who knows me is all too aware that I wasn’t born all that practical and I’ve never prided myself on good sense. But I’ve always loved writing and I can rarely resist a challenge.

As the clock ticked closer to November, I thought: I can try.

I mentioned as much to my wife, Catherine. No surprise, she seemed confident I could not just attempt the summit, but also reach it.

Off I went to sign up for another go-round at nanowrimo.org.

Good sense can take a hike.

I want to see where the story takes me.

 

Wes Platt can be reached at wplatt@heraldsun.com or 919-419-6684. Follow on Twitter at @HS_WesPlatt. Connect on Facebook at facebook.com/wesplattheraldsun.