Saturday, November 17, 2012


I've done Nanowrimo every November for the past several years.

For those who don't know what that is, it's the time of year where everyone who's ever even pretended to write a story for any reason disappears off the face of the planet.

Reason: Insanity. Complete, total, utter insanity. They're all hunkering down at their computers and tablets and notebooks, trying to force their poor, aching fingers to bang out fifty thousand words of a novel in only thirty days.

Do you know how much 50k is? Well, the average Young adult novel is between 60-90k. That's a lot of words in only 4 weeks. And if you don't think so, you've obviously never tried it.

The Nano people send out a lot of motivational messages, and most of them are really great messages. Words of hope and light in a time of gloom and despair.

But here's the thing. Whether we like it or not, at least 70% of the Nano participants will never be published novelists. (Maybe more.)

Sure, grouch at me for being a naysayer, but it's true. Most people write that novel during nano while still keeping a real life job or raising a family. And most of those people aren't going to change all that just because of 30 days of literary insanity.

So what's the point? Why bother?

Well, the interesting thing about Nano is that it holds a learning opportunity for someone in any field. I'd venture to say that the crazy days and late nights are always worth it, even if that novel never sees the light of day. Even if it's terrible. Even if it's the worst literary creation since 50 Shades of Grey  the beginning of time.

Here's why:

This year's Nano has been my awesomest ever. I am kicking everyone's butts, and it's making me feel like I rule the world. (Literally, I am crushing all of you!!) Even if you never publish your novel, you accomplished something crazy. Like literally, bats in the belfry crazy. And you rocked it.

Everyone who's ever finished Nano is a tougher, more competitive person because of it. And it's not because it was easy. It's because it was ridiculously freaking hard.The only side-effects are increased self-confidence, richer imagination, and fuller lives. (And maybe a caffeine hangover.)

Thus it is in the non-literary world.

One of the craziest, and awesomest, things about humankind is that we have this built in competitive gene that makes us rise above disaster, overcome trials, and never give up.

We all have that ability. But sometimes we feel like it's pointless.

Guess what. It isn't.

If there's one thing I've learned from Nano, it's that you absolutely, no questions about it, always have to keep fighting harder. No matter what.

You'll never be anyone if the competition cows you. No dreams come true. No goals get reached. Nada. Zilch. ничего. Niente. Nichts. Rien. Naught.

Make the competition build you up. Force it to make you fight harder. Let those hard things make you stronger.

Do Not let the hard stuff squash you.

When something comes at you, don't be the person that they peel off the floor. Make them drag you out kicking and screaming.

We can't always control whether we win or lose. We can't even control what said trials are, most of the time. But we can control what it turns us into.

"Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. There are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winningest-winner of all.
FAME! You'll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV. 
"Except when they don't.
Because sometimes they won't.  
"I'm afraid that sometimes you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you." 

So what's the point? Why bother?

Well, the only side-effects are increased self-confidence, richer imagination, and fuller lives.

You're a tougher, more competitive person. You're stronger and better and more confident.

Keep in mind what the point of it all is, and you'll never be a failure.

Go out and accomplish something nuts. Something totally, absurdly, completely, insanely impossible. And even if you never get published, or never make CEO, or never star in a blockbuster movie, you'll never regret it.

"And will you succeed?
Yes! You will indeed!
(98 3/4 percent guaranteed.) 

Go write a 50k novel in 30 days. I dare you.

I double dare you.


Ready... Set... GO

be your name Bubaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'shea
you're off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting
So... get on your way!"