There have always been human beings who have the urge to do crazy things.
BASE jumping, sky diving, hang gliding (basically anything that involves jumping off high things without something soft to land on). Wire walking, skateboarding, cheerleading … Seriously, have you seen what these girls get up to? It’s not just shaking tassles and chanting letters, you know.
In my last post, I mentioned some great 20th century explorers – men* who were prepared to brave temperatures low enough to make them wish they had a freezer on hand so they could curl up inside and warm up, whilst wearing the kind of clothing most of us would consider too insubstantial for a quick trip to the shops on a rainy night. Think of those teenage girls you’ve seen stumbling out of night clubs near Christmas wearing litte more than a couple of strategically placed scarves and you’ll get the idea.
Without this gung-ho attitude man would never have explored space, or the deep oceans, jungles or deserts. Alright, we also wouldn’t have encountered the indigenous peoples who lived in these environments**, nicked their land, mineral wealth and natural assets and taken them all for ourselves either, but that’s by the by.
Whilst I admire these people for their courage, I choose to do so from afar, preferably somewhere warm, dry and safe. I wouldn’t want to cramp anyone’s style, after all.
And so it is with NaNoWriMo (That’s National Novel Writing Month to the uninitiated.)
For, if the novel writing community has the equivalent of a trip to the Antarctic, this is it. In the month of November every year, brave souls pledge to write a first draft (50,000 words) of a novel during the 30 days of November. That’s 1,666. 66667 words a day according to my calculator.
Now, if that doesn’t sound too bad, remember that the people taking part are often amateurs (in the finest sense of the word) holding down jobs, homes, families, pets, good habits and nasty ones whilst finding time to write EVERY DAY. Not just on weekends, but on days when they have to face that unpleasant AGM and to drop the kids to football and ballet and a 60th birthday party to organise and a relationship to keep alive … And they still have to sleep.
So, to all of you attempting NaNoWriMo this year – good luck, God speed and may the force go with you. Maybe I’ll join you next year.
*Let’s face it they were always men. Women still wore corsets in 1911 when Amundsen reached the South Pole and eating dinner can be a trial if you’re wearing one of those instruments of torture, let alone crossing crevasses and driving huskies.
**Not space or the deep oceans. We haven’t nicked the mineral wealth of any aliens or Atlanteans yet. Give us time, though.
There’s still time to sign up to NaNoWriMo, so if you have a great novel idea but have been struggling to complete that first draft, then pop along to their website we’re you’l find advice and support galore.