Follow up to: Experiment Over – New Blogging Schedule
The schedule of essays policy for this blog is kind of weird, because I promise no official one as per my reasoning in “And We’re Back”, yet I try to stick to a current format of an essay every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with an additional weekly link roundup every Friday …struggling occasionally because I have to balance my blogging against being a full time student engaged in the goings-on of my campus.
However, now I want to do something a bit crazy: I want to do NaNoWriMo, except on my blog. For those of you who know exactly what NaNoWriMo is, all I need to do is tell you this: I will be writing my 50,000 words in a series of blog essays for the month of November, attempting to write a blog post every day, something I wasn’t even able to do in my blogging experiment when I wasn’t a full time student.
What is NaNoWriMo?
Now, for those of you who don’t know, what is NaNoWriMo all about? Quite simply, it’s National Novel Writing Month, and I’ll let the NaNoWriMo about page take it away for the rest of the explanation:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.
Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.
Of course, you might remark that I’m not really doing the Novel part of NaNoWriMo, but have no fear: doing this in a blogging medium still keeps the same commitment to taking risks by writing on the fly, and still results in the same 50000 words if I do it right, so the rest is just social convention.
Besides, if someone can make a constructed language for NaNoWriMo, I can do blog posts.
Why Do NaNoWriMo?
Now you might begrudgingly admit that blog posting is an appropriate format for NaNoWriMo, but you may be wondering why exactly I would want to do it on this blog. Aren’t I a guy who admires continuous editing, and writing concisely, using no more essays than necessary to communicate the intended point?
Don’t I spend too much time figuring out not only how to word a blog post to communicate as effectively as I currently can, but also obsess with how current essays will fit into the larger, bigger picture of how essays flow together with follow ups to accomplish what I want?
Well, here’s a few reasons that have compelled me into doing NaNoWriMo:
1: I want to try different styles and manners of writing. I want to practice just writing, and doing it publicly for all to see without me having to fear anything. In the end, Greatplay.net is not a book, but a blog, and I should take some more time to write for myself. I should take my time to learn how to better get my thoughts out of my head and into writing. Inspired by this Slate article on writing faster, I should also take some time to learn how to write faster, seeing if I can get the same quantity in even less time.
2: I want to show solidarity with my friends. Some of my other friends are doing NaNoWriMo, and it’s now an official part of the Writer’s Club we have on campus, and we should have some NaNoWriMo events. I want to be a part of this.
3: I want to honor the history of this blog. Last November, I tried to write a non-fiction book about the philosophy of atheism. I ended up falling short with 37,000 words, and didn’t really know what to do with what I had finished. So I came back to my blog in December and started turning my book into blog essays, expanding upon what I had written the month before. It seems fitting to participate in this tradition a second time and try to do better.
4: I want to have the space to write about more than just religion. With a format where I am not writing that much per week, I tend to focus on what I feel most compelled to write about, which has traditionally been on naturalism and humanism. If I’m writing more, it will force me to write also about what I feel less compelled to write about: namely, things that aren’t related to religion. And I feel this is a good thing for this blog, which I never intended to be a blog primarily about atheism, and especially not only about atheism.
5: I want to see if I can do it. 50000 words is a lot to write, especially in addition to all my other commitments. I’ve had trouble writing just 5000 words a week, and this should commit me to writing closer to 12000 words per week. Quite a challenge to do without sacrificing quality or turning to the dark side and writing utter drivel. It will be a personal challenge to see if I can make it.
So, starting tomorrow, let’s get to writing — a lot of writing! Yikes!
For those of you who are interested, this essay took about fifty minutes to communicate 1006 words, so I should only have to commit 41 hours and 26 minutes to write all 50000 words this November. Although, one data point is probably not going to be indicative of the entire trend…
I now blog at EverydayUtilitarian.com. I hope you'll join me at my new blog! This page has been left as an archive.