Tuesday, November 3, 2009


The first time I understood what long term goals were, I was a freshman in high school and my English class had been tasked with coming up with some. I think the point of the exercise was to get to us to start thinking about what we were going to do post high school, but in my usual way, I took it to a whole new level. Once the twenty minutes were up, we went around the room and all 25 or 30 of us read off our goals. By the time they got to me, I was pumped. I read my goals with gusto, finishing with "By the time I graduate, I'm going to have a written and published a novel." [Cue crickets chirping] My level of popularity amongst my classmates probably also wasn't helped by the fact that we were later given a "short" creative writing assignment and I submitted a 12 page single spaced novella which my teacher was so impressed by (or just incredulous at my naivete at the assignment) that she showed it to the class as a prime example of what she wanted. And people wonder why I am the way I am...

Years later, I'm still trying to write that great American novel and this month, I joined the National Novel Writing Month competition, which occurs every November. There is no grand prize with this contest, it's simply a snarky and fun accountability tool to get the creative juices going for professional and amateur writers. The only person you're accountable to is yourself and you can track how close you are to the 50k word goal. They strongly encourage writers to just write and not worry about editing or whether your story makes sense. As their welcome letter states, "Editing is for December." I started a novel and hopefully I'll see it through to completion this year. I actually did this a couple of years ago and never made it past Week 1, but I am committed to actually doing it this time. I don't care if the story is crap, I just want to be able to say that I actually finished one. And the cool thing about this whole thing is that it's a great networking tool too; you get the opportunity to connect with readers across the globe and make new writing buddies and who knows, you might even get published! There is a long list of previous winners who have gone on to have their stories published (after much editing of course!)

If you're interested in joining, you still have 27 days to write 50,000+ words! Click on the banner in my sidebar and write away!

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