The difficulty of completing a 50,000 word novel, from scratch, in thirty days can scarcely be imagined until one steps foot upon the path of most resistance. Forging a trail barehanded through dense, thorny brush might be easier. The statistics bear this out every year. Of the tens of thousands who begin NaNoWriMo each year, only 15% - 20% ever finish.
Yet and still, every year authors worldwide embark on this perilous journey of self-discovery, at risk of estrangement from the entire outside world… Meaning, the world outside their own heads. They do it, in part, because everyone loves a challenge. Everyone loves an underdog. Everyone loves to be a part of something larger than themselves.
I have a 55-hour work week at my day job, a working wife and a two year old child. My path is strewn with obstacles, and it winds through late nights, fatigue-induced hazes, sometimes delirium. And at every turn I have been greeted by the 800 lb gorilla: self doubt.
A task of this magnitude will force realizations upon you. Chief among mine: there is nothing else I would rather be doing than climbing this literary Everest. Prose beckons me like a long-lost lover and my characters inspire me daily. Even though I am 7,000 words behind the prescribed pace, I am absolutely committed to finishing. And as for this challenging road ahead, I channel Henley:
OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
To all my fellow NaNo Wri Mo’ers… Good Luck and Godspeed. May we all drink champagne together…See you at the finish line.
by Christopher S. Ledbetter, Author
Caenus and The Quiver of Artemis