Saturday, October 30, 2010


NaNoWriMo begins the day after tomorrow. In other words, every day for the month of November I shall have to churn out at least 1667 words, and probably more than that if I want to finish my novel. It's a short one, at only 20 chapters (plotted--I can see it growing to maybe 25 if some extra scenes get thrown in), but the quantity of stuff I need to cover in each chapter is huge. My head is spinning just thinking about that, because I also plan to maintain this blog as well, and possibly start a new one, about writing. In addition to all that, I will also have baking endeavors to placate the nurses at my boyfriend's workplace, and my own work will probably drive me nuts.

Why, you might ask, have I not backed down from tackling NaNo? Part of it is that I have, in fact, always wanted to write a novel, but it's only now that I've finally plotted and planned one out, from beginning to end. Secondly, it's a surprsingly effective way to meet new people:

It can be tough to be an expat, especially if you're at the beginning stages of learning the language, and doubly so if your new city is like Nijmegen, where people look at you funny for a few minutes when you speak English before they recognize the funny noises that have just come out of your mouth. Meeting new people is especially challenging if you've got a full-time job, because you just don't have the time to find clubs and/or groups with your interest, and if you do, they always meet at the one time when you can't.

Because writing can be a lonely endeavor, and because NaNo is meant to be fun--challenging, but fun--the originators of this devilishly insane literary insanity have Write-Ins, where official participants in a particular locale agree to meet and write. You can't get on the list unless you're officially participating, though, so you at least have to intend on writing a novel.

There are no promises: You may enter Nano with the best intentions but you are not guaranteed to finish. You may decide that your local Write-in sucks. You may decide, halfway through, that your novel needs to be canned--yesterday. In some ways, it's a lot like being an expat, all over again. You move to a new country with the intention of starting over, but who can say whether that will happen in the way that you thought it would? And perhaps the one saving grace for your sanity is that there are others, just like you, doing the exact same thing.


  1. I have a good excuse not to take part this year since I'll be busy with wedding and honeymoon and stuff. I do want to take part one year though. I have so many ideas. I just need to force myself to put them down on paper.

    Good luck.

  2. Thanks. My boyfriend has the same problem--he's got these amazing ideas but somewhere at some point a childhood teacher must have traumatized him and told him that he sucked at writing because he will NOT write anything unless I put a gun to his head. And then, only maybe....

    Congratulations on your marriage. Send my regards to Mrs. I. Stu, too :-)