November 1, 2011
It’s November and the blank page beckons once again.
Three years ago I was editing for a technical publisher and launching a new series that was very special to me that focused on the other side of their lives. NaNoWriMo was coming up so I tied myself to their coat tails and encouraged people who didn’t want to write a novel to try a non-fiction book.
I said then, and I say now, the point of the exercise is for you to have a dedicated period in which to find out if you can write that book you’ve always wanted to write. The point is not to get published. If you want to get published, that’s great. But the mark of whether or not you are successful this month is simple:
Did you put words on a page?
At the end of the month you’ll know more about yourself. Each day this month you need to take some time to write. Some days the pages will pour out of you and some days it will be a struggle.
When I started this project as PragProWriMo I wrote:
“You’ll have a pile of pages or you won’t.
“On one hand, if you don’t, then you are one of the many people who wants to have written a book but doesn’t want to write a book. There’s nothing wrong with that. In a month you’ll know if that describes you or not.
“On the other hand, you might find that you love writing. You’ve got something to say and you love the hard work it takes to craft words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into passages that people want to read. Then you are meant to write a book. You won’t be able to stop. You still might not be able to publish your book, but that doesn’t keep you from being an author who has written a book.
“In between those two hands are the vast majority of us. We write when the planets align. We have blogs but weeks or months might pass between our posts. We can participate in this month of writing by posting a solid blog entry every day for the month of December. Then we might go back to the once in a while or we might continue.”
I’m going to work on a short technical book this month. It’s a proof-of-concept for a series I’ve been talking about starting for almost a year. I was just in the process of putting it off again because I have an book on iOS programming I’m writing for someone as well as other projects in progress — but I’m up for embracing this time-boxed month long sprint.