Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo -- The Olympic Marathon of Creative Writing

Until 10 minutes ago, I never heard of NaNoWriMo.

But at first glance at a brief description, it looks like the creative writing equivalent of running an Olympic marathon.

According to this blog post (which introduced the topic to this blogger), NaNoWriMo is a tradition started about 12 years ago, challenging writers to crank out a novel -- about 50,000 words -- in just one carpal tunnel syndrome-inducing month.

NaNoWriMo = National Novel Writing Month.

In case you are wondering, carpal tunnel awareness month is in May (well, sort of -- I guess some NaNoWritMo folks could have rallied for that during recovery mode after November, but they were too sore to type a petition).

When I was a kid growing up in Edmond, Okla., we had a colorful neighbor who lived in the "Pizza Hut House" (nicknamed for its flat shingled roof and dark red paint that looked like, well, a Pizza Hut). This neighbor was known as a friendly yet somewhat reclusive single woman, and neighborhood lore among the kids was that one day a soccer ball got kicked into her backyard, and when it was retrieved by a boy daring enough to climb the fence, the woman was spotted sitting naked at her typewriter, oblivious to the soccer ball retrieval (and impromptu window-peeking) in progress. For the record, I am NOT the kid who chased the soccer ball, but I am the kid who later introduced himself to the woman (selling candy bars for school fundraiser) and got to know her as "the lady down the street who writes books."

That woman was/is Hugo Award winning science fiction novelist C.J. Cherryh, and through a conversation shared with my dad, Cherry and yours truly (when I was about eight), we learned that C.J. worked hard to write a minimum of 10 pages a day. 10 PAGES!

So when I heard that there is a national month celebrating 50,000 words (about six pages a day) I got to thinking that C.J. is probably somewhere chuckling to herself, "I scoff at your meager six pages!"

Anyway, that's my 10 minutes of stream of conscientiousness typing (DRAT! Only a few hundred words!).

For those participating in NaNoWriMo 2012, good luck -- with some advance prep, I may try to join in 2012.

And if C.J. (or her agent) is out there reading blog posts noting Cherryh's work, I'd love to get back in touch; after all, she got me started writing!

Illustration via NaNoWriMo

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