It’s just not happening.

Photo by David Travis on Unsplash

I’ve been trying to complete National Novel Writing Month for at least five years now, without a single success. Hell, I don’t think I’ve written ten thousand words as a result of NaNoWriMo, which is a tenth of the goal. 

Maybe that fact should be embarrassing, but I’m here to write fiction, not lies. 

The obvious question is: why can’t I finish NaNoWriMo? 

I’ve tried as a college student with hours and hours of free time. I’ve tried as an established blogger, who only had to write blogs. I’ve tried specific novel ideas, blank slates, and streams of consciousness. But I’ve yet to have partial or any success at all. 

When it comes down to it, the answer has to be willpower. NaNoWriMo has it all. Self-motivation, deadlines, external motivation through message boards and frequent check-ins. All you have to do is have an idea. 

More than anything, I think that may be the part that taunts me. There’s a place on NaNoWriMo’s very helpful website where you can make a description of your project, down to the title and front cover of your draft novel. All of it is optional, but somehow I find it disheartening. 

I simply don’t have an idea to present. How do you obtain an idea worthy of a feature length novel? Do you stumble upon one in the dead of night tripping over it in the dark? Can you fall asleep and dream it into reality? Or do you have to keep writing through the maze, until you find it there? 

Well, I don’t know. I used to think I had too many ideas, and too little discipline. Now I think I’m missing both. 

For 2019 I went into NaNoWriMo thinking I would fail. Write 50,000 words in one month, when I never have before? To no one’s surprise, my attitude didn’t help me write more, and my prediction ended up being true. 

Can we make December a “write 5,000 words” month instead? 


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