NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH!
. . .
Since writing prose is my jam, it should come as no surprise that I LOVE NaNoWriMo!
National Novel Writing Month, from the first time I heard of it in 2002, has been an exciting and inspiring time of the year that has always helped me make long strides on whatever writing project I had in the works.
National Novel Writing Month officially started in 1999 with a challenge for writers to complete a 50,000 word manuscript in the month of November.
You read right. Fifty. Thousand.
It sounds a lot more difficult than it actually is, though. Break it into days, and you have to reach about 1,600 words a day. Now, the real challenge comes in when you think about time. . . when and how to set aside the time to write over a thousand words a day.
That’s always the challenge. Time.
The thing about it is that we make time for the things that matter to us – and sometimes the biggest hurdle to “finding” time to work on our writing is acknowledging and affirming that our writing is important, that our writing matters.
Once we acknowledge that and affirm it for ourselves, others will, too – because our language around the time we spend writing changes.
If you’re a writer, and you’d like to participate in NaNoWriMo this month, it’s not too late. Consider how you talk about your writing, how you affirm it for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to say, “I’m not available that evening because I’m working on my novel” or “Would you make dinner tonight? I have to finish this scene.”
Here’s one that might burn your toast. . . “Can we start streaming that show next month? I want to finish a draft of my novel for National Novel Writing Month.” No judgment though. . . just sayin’ the streaming platforms be streamin’!
I’m not saying affirming your writing time is easy, but I am saying it’s necessary.
Try it this month as you work on anything that is important to you. Say it’s important. Tell others it’s important. Prioritize it like it’s important.
Whatever your long form project is for this year’s NaNoWriMo — novel, memoir, poetry collection or chapbook, or short story collection — I challenge you to own your identity as a writer and claim the space your writing deserves.
Happy writing everyone!
Excerpts shared by
Kitchen Table Literary Arts writers
from their works in progress
“I still can’t make french toast without thinking of the last time I made it for you,
moments before I told you I wanted to pull apart our life at the seams.
I bought a king size bed and I sleep in the middle of it,
but my feet are always cold.
I can finally breathe but I can’t stop crying
How wild it is to grieve something you decided you no longer wanted.”
“I always thought I understood what love meant because of how Amma & Big Dad loved each other. I now realize I know what love means because of how they love me.”
“All my sistas thugs. . .
They them, wise-smart street knowin’,
book passing and reading,
thinking, wondering and dreaming-thugs. . .
All my sisters:
Been about lives they should have never been given,
But when you raised by thugs…”
“It’s been over a year since you’ve had a drink. This time, the elective sobriety centered on two back-to-back breast surgeries that scared and scarred you. The whole time you thought it was cancer.
“When biopsies came back benign, your gratitude was wide but not deep. Doctors knew what it wasn’t but didn’t know what it was. The findings are still inconclusive, but they aren’t fatal, and for that, everyone is thankful, even if the confusion about what happened and why and the fear that it can happen again shadows every moment you look at yourself naked in the mirror, your breasts skewed and drooping in ways your wife doesn’t mention.”
Kitchen Table Literary Arts is a Tampa Bay online community who offer opportunities, creative events and writing classes – building awareness, appreciation and support for women of color and Black women writers, poets and their work.
Originally published in the
Kitchen Table Literary Arts newsletter