"Deadlines bring focus, forcing us to make time for achievements we would otherwise postpone, encouraging us to reach beyond our conservative estimates of what we think possible, helping us to wrench victory from the jaws of sleep.
A deadline is, simply put, optimism in its most ass-kicking form."
The quote above comes from Chris Baty, author of this book and founder of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). In just 10 days, I am setting sail on an awesome, heart-wrenching, sure-to-be drama-filled adventure. I am participating in NaNoWriMo, which means I will be writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days through the month of November.
(Pause for collective gasp.)
It's time, folks. It's time to stop dreaming and start typing like a maniac. Since the rules of the contest state that you must begin a new novel, I will be putting my much-stressed-over manuscript aside for awhile and begin afresh.
I am hoping to get a word-count widget for the blog so you guys can cheer me along (because I have a feeling I will need much encouragement and cajoling). I love this "Month-Long Novelist Agreement and Statement of Understanding" which is included in the afore-linked book to sign:
I hereby pledge my intent to write a 50,000-word novel in one month's time. By invoking an absurd, month-long deadline on such and enormous undertaking, I understand that notions of "craft", "brilliance", and "competency" are to be chucked right out the window, where they will remain, ignored, until they are retrieved for the editing process... I also acknowledge my right as author to substantially inflate both the quality of the rough draft and the rigors of the writing process should inflation prove useful in garnering me respect and attention, or freedom from participation in onerous household chores.
I acknowledge that the month-long 50,000-word deadline I set for myself is absolute and unchangeable, and that any failure to meet the deadline, or any effort on my part to move the deadline once the adventure has begun, will invite well-deserved mockery from friends and family. I also acknowledge that, upon successful completion of the stated noveling objective, I am entitiled to a period of gleeful celebration and revelry, the duration and intensity of which may preclude me from participating fully in workplace activities for days, if not weeks, afterward.
Signed: Jessica Hendricks
NaNoWriMo Participant 2011
So that's what I need you guys for: encourage me, push me, threaten me, check in on me, and generally shame me into finishing. At the end of this thing, anyone who has written 50,000 words is deemed a "Winner" of NaNoWriMo.
And I will win.