Why You Should Write a Book in June
JuNoWriMo is our spin off of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) that takes place in June, challenging you to write 50,000 words in thirty days. In the past two years, JuNoWriMo has inspired hundreds of writers to get their books written, and I’ve asked a few of them to share their personal stories. Today Eden Mabee sums up her experience in one word: Plunge.
Why should you write a book in June? THIS is why.
P is for Plunge by Eden Mabee
Remember that very first time you stood at the edge of the deep end? Remember how it felt to hear the voices of friends and family urging you to just jump on in? “Diving in feels better than walking slowly down the steps of the shallow end”, they’d say.
They were right, of course; yeah, it’s a bit shocking, but you get used to it quick. Once you were in the water, you loved it, and you’d want to stay in until your hands and feet looked like prunes.
JuNoWriMo was just like that for me, standing on a platform off the deep end of my writing life… you know the kind that swim teams use during their racing meets. When I signed up for JuNoWriMo, I felt my body steel itself; my quavering “writer’s legs” barely avoided buckling under the emotional pressure of the moment as I stepped up to take my place in the challenge.
Well, I’d never taken that dive before. I’d done my laps before as a participant in various writing challenges such as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, the original WriMo) and the ROW80 (A Round of Words in 80 Days), learning a few new strokes here and there, getting along well enough. I made my count and time, but I didn’t have much left over for chatting on the bench between my sprints. The 50K was all.
Clearly, I wasn’t investing myself in the event. I went through the motions, writing word after word of that crappy first draft, but I wasn’t giving my best effort; I wasn’t getting what I wanted from myself or the experience. All because I had an issue with one little piece of the “rules”* of NaNoWriMo… that one that said that each WriMo project needed to be a new fiction novel.
Like a lot of writers, I’m working on a large project, one that I hope to make into a series. And that limitation, even with the admission I could be a NaNoRebel, felt wrong. Yes, I could work on the larger project for my time in the ROW80, but it didn’t have the fiery energy of a month of writing. The ROW80 gave me something no NaNoWriMo experience could; it allowed me to connect with a supportive community of fellow creatives on a regular basis; it helped me build a steady writing process.
But any skill improves by challenging one’s self, and creativity thrives on pushing one’s limits. I wasn’t challenging myself, and I certainly wasn’t pushing any limits (except, perhaps, my husband’s patience) with either NaNoWriMo or the ROW80. I would shut myself up in the equivalent of a writer’s cave during the NaNo frenzy often not even logging into even Facebook for a check to see what distant family was up to. And the row80, without the burst of chaos and deadlines, allowed me to settle sleepily into treading water. I’d write 250 words a day or less for weeks at a time, telling myself it was “okay” because “at least I was writing”.
That’s where JuNoWriMo comes in. When I heard about the challenge, it seemed like the Universe was finally calling my bluff. Did I really want a writing challenge that would give me it “all”? Did I want that push? Or was I happy with bouncing about in the shallow end, occasionally having to sputter and doggie paddle back from the churning deeper waters when I got caught up with the racers?
See, at the time, JuNoWriMo organizers, Anna and Becca needed people to hosts sprints and moderate forums on the website. I’d never done either one before. No shallow-end dipping here. If I were going to be on the team, it would be sink or swim time. No tryouts here. I had to jump on in and go for all I was worth.
Did I take the plunge? You bet I did, and not just that first year, but each year since. Feel like joining JuNoWriMo? Come on in. The water is fine.
(*The rules have relaxed some in the past few years; rebelling has become an accepted practice among writers of the challenge. Challenges like JuNoWriMo and the ROW80 played a pivotal role in changing attitudes among the writing community. )
It’s Your Turn
JuNoWriMo 2014 is going to be bigger and better than ever, so don’t miss this opportunity to write that book. I dare you to write 50,000 words in June. If you accept my challenge, know that you won’t be in it alone. You’ll be writing alongside hundreds of other authors who are going for the exact same thing, and that’s the best way to write. It’s gonna be stinkin’ awesome.
So, are you in?
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