Why I Am “Cheating” At NaNoWriMo This Year

So, it’s almost that magical time of year. The time when crisp mornings turn our breath into ghosts, when the sky is that saturated late-year blue, the leaves are a riot of color and creativity is in the air.

That’s right, it’s almost National Novel Writing Month!

I love the idea of an entire month devoted to a creative pursuit. Write fifty thousand words in a month, forge a novel from absolutely nothing but the blank page in front of you…such a wonderful challenge! And it really is a challenge, too–cranking out 50K words in just one month is truly a feat of stamina and focus. To all of those who do it, W00t! You are awesome! What I love most about this initiative is that NaNoWriMo has gone a long way in providing public awareness of writing as a creative outlet for anyone. It doesn’t belong to just one cookie-cutter writery sort. No, NaNoWriMo and its cousin programs encourage people from all walks of life to jump in the sandbox and play. To wordsmith, to create. The world needs this. And yes, I’m participating, but I do not plan to win.

I plan to cheat.

A NaNo project is supposed to be spur of the month, from-scratch novelly goodness. This can accomplish several things—writing unfettered, tapping deeply into one’s subconscious mind, and writing simply for the sake of creating. I love all of these things, and I encourage everyone to give NaNoWriMo a try. It’s truly amazing what we’re capable of when restraint is kicked aside and focus placed, spotlight-wise, on a month-long creativity spree. This year, though, I’m simply basking in the wordsy glow of all my friends. I already have a project I’m working on—something I’ve been dreaming about for two years now, and for which I feel a burgeoning sense of urgency and a consuming, fiery drive to create.

I’ll sit amongst my NaNo-er buddies (online or IRL) and feed on their energy like a coffee-loving, moderately harmless vampire because National Novel Writing Month does something magical. . .it creates habit energy. Many of us now associate November with writing. How awesome is that? It’s far easier to embark on something as taxing as a full-length work of fiction when the very world around you hums with creation.  Even my S.O. is thinking about a November project of a creative nature. So…if I could use some momentum now, why wait? I will resonate with this creative zeitgeist. I will ‘cheat.’ I still created a novel page on the NaNo site and will be keeping track of my word count and waving imaginary pom-poms of GO YOU to all my friends playing to win, but in the end, the winning for me will be participating in a world alive with creativity while furthering a project I care deeply about. Heck, I even made a fake book cover!


So, is anyone else out there planning to do this thing? If so, are you playing by the rules, or are you ‘cheating?’ Or are you using this collective creative mojo to plan next year’s garden, program a mobile app, solve that testy logic problem, or draw that comic-panel you’ve been visualizing for a while?

No matter what it is, happy creating–your world will be better for it!

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