Too many years ago my good friend came to me, brimming with excitement over something she’d discovered. I poured the coffee, and she poured forth a tale so unbelievable that I feared for her sanity. It goes something like this: “Let’s write a 50 thousand word novel in thirty days.”
Imagine my horror. As I tried not to choke on my cookie, she waved a slim, tattered copy of a book in my face and beamed at me. Her chatter faded into the background, but I caught a few words, mainly “50,000” stuck out—and “one month.” As the book flew back and forth I managed to catch the blurred title: No Plot, No Problem. Well, it sounded innocuous enough.
Still, I was a classic story-starter-and-never-finisher. This idea she was on about, this “finishing” disturbed me. I broke out in a sweat. Deadlines, frankly, gave me the heebie geebies. My comfort zone lay somewhere between: think a lot about it and never actually write it, and write like mad for a week and then get distracted by something shiny and change projects.
I guffawed in the face of her excitement. However, she can be relentless at times. Eventually, I caved and agreed to read the book, but I had no intentions of lending credence to this preposterous concept. Enter: No Plot? No Problem.
I began to read the book, shaking my head in disbelief. I chuckled. I gasped. I caught myself thinking, “maybe.” I came to my senses and kept reading. The book is written in quite the seductive manner. It’s ingenious; it’s hilarious. I thought--this just might be possible. Who said that?
By the time I’d read the entire thing, I was game. I mean, it was only May and the ludicrous event didn’t even begin until November. I had plenty of time to come up with a reason to back out. Then the oddest thing happened. I got excited. I found myself pacing the floor and watching the calendar. Would November never get here? In early October, the website woke from it’s annual silence, and the message boards burst to life. The anticipation of thousands of authors waiting for Nano to start is infectious. I thought, I’m really going to do this.
And just like that, I wrote 50,000 words in a month. Many, many times. Was it a torturous, insane, caffeine filled, blur of temporary insanity? Oh yes. What a ride.
Addendum: One week ago the same, nutty friend asked me to write a story in a weekend with her. Because I never learn, I mocked her again, waffled and then relented. In less than three days I churned out a 17K story that I'm pretty tickled with. Perhaps, I should start listening to her.
But I probably won't.
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