November marks the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The quick version is folks band together and support each other to write 50,000 words in November.

I would love to write a novel one day. I am not sure I could do it well, but I am pretty sure I could hit 50,000-80,000 words if I dedicated time to tell a story.

I don’t have a story to tell.

So this year, I have decided to not feel guilty about skipping out on another NaNoWriMo (always the reader, never the author), and instead I am modifying it to meet my needs. With no story to tell and no experience tackling a single project the size of a novel, I am going to tackle a smaller problem– this blog.

Instead of 50,000 words in 30 days, I am going to try and write 1000 words a day for the next four weeks. I will not hold myself to a topic. I will not even hold myself to non-fiction. I will not hold myself to a number of posts or the size of the posts I write. I will not even hold myself to true daily count, instead reviewing where I stand at the end of each week.

I am hoping that the practice of simply writing will grease my knuckles and start the avalanche that leads to writing more. A small confession– I write two or three blog posts every week that never leave my drafts. I find myself unable to hit publish because the ideas tend to be far larger or far smaller than I anticipate when I set out to write and share my frustrations. I also get nervous, particularly when writing about things I do professionally, about not writing the perfect post that’s clear, heavily researched, and expresses my views definitively and completely. This month, I say goodbye to that anxiety and start simply hitting publish.

I will leave you with several warnings.

  1. Things might get topically wacky. I might suddenly become a food blogger, or write about more personal issues, or write a short story and suddenly whiplash to talking about programming, education policy, or the upcoming election. If high volume, random topics aren’t your thing, you should probably unsubscribe from my RSS feed and check back in a month.
  2. I might write terrible arguments that are poorly supported and don’t reflect my views. This month, I will not accept my most common excuses for not publishing, which boil down to fear people will hold me to the views I express in my first-draft thinking. I am going to make mistakes this month in public and print the dialog I am having with myself. The voices I allow room to speak as I struggle with values, beliefs, and opinions may be shock and offend. This month, this blog is my internal dialog. Please read it as a struggle, however definitive the tone.
  3. I am often disappointed that the only things I publish are smaller ideas written hastily with poor editing. Again, this month I embrace the reality that almost everything I write that ends up published is the result of 20 minutes of furious typing with no looking back, rather than trying to be a strong writer with a strong view point and strong support.

I hope that the end of this month I will have written at least a couple of pieces I feel proud of, and hopefully, I will have a little less fear of hitting publish in the future.