That is the question, isn’t it? For some of us, it isn’t really a question. Or maybe it is, but there’s no real answer besides the one we know, have always known in our hearts to be true. Writing is the only way this chaos, this insanity that marks our crazy lives makes sense. My joke with friends is that I row crew because I like to row crew, and I teach because that’s my calling, but I write because I can’t help it. I can’t not. I can’t imagine a life without writing–a life without the words or the worlds of my imagination, a life without the ink-on-paper people who are more alive than many “real” people to me, or a life without the adventures and misadventures of these same people.

The fact that these people exist in my head makes no difference, nor does it render them any less real. If that seems crazy, then what I am about to say is even more so. I picked up the gauntlet thrown down by a couple of very good friends, and accepted the challenge of trying to write a 50,000 word novel in one month’s time. I SIGNED UP FOR NANOWRIMO. And what a challenge it is, too! Apart from a full time job, trying to get my business off the ground, and responsibilities at home, I will be attempting to write an entire novel (or most of one) in 30 days. The level of my success remains to be seen.

I will use the rest of this month to plan and plot and outline. Will it be a mystery story? Science fiction? Fantasy? Or something else? What of the characters dancing around in my head, half formed? Which will take the starring role? Who will the supporting characters be?  Where will the plot lines bend and twist like the branches of an old tree? Will this story follow the path of those before it and grow too complicated to finish in 50,000 words and thirty-days? Or will it fizzle and die in its infancy? I will brainstorm ideas, adopt them, and then discard them, and adopt others. I will outline and chart and plot. I will make notes and then tear them up and make more. I will come maddeningly close to throwing up my hands and walking away.

Then, on the evening of Friday, November 1, 2013, I will start to write, and the characters will finally have their say. At the end of it all, and as much as I might not want to admit it, I am simply their messenger, transcribing the story they wish to tell. If I do that well enough, it will be a story others want to read. If I don’t, well…

So, what do I need from you? Encouragement mostly. Motivation. To some degree, accountability. To reach the goal in the time allotted, I must write around 2000-2500 words per day. That translates to approximately ten to twelve pages. Every. Day. Feel free to inquire as to how it is going, or kick me in the pants (if I seem to need it) to get it done. You can ask what I am writing about, but please don’t be offended if I don’t tell you (not immediately, anyway). In my experience, sharing my work lessens the tension building as I work, thereby killing the motivation to finish in order to relieve said tension.

Thank you for your help, and I hope to see you on the other side of this coin with more stories to share. Happy Fall.