It’s Nov. 30, and thousands of would-be novelists are reaching the end of their quest to lay down 50,000 words worth of story in NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month challenge.
Many have finished and learned just how few words are 50,000. Others have struggled and discovered that 50,000 are too many. In both cases they’re right.
I have probably composed millions of words in my lifetime and produced hundreds of hours of radio and other audio programming. (80 Uncle Warren’s Attic podcasts, 150 Ikthuscast podcasts, and 13 78 Revolutions Per Minute podcasts = 40 hours + 37.5 hours + 6.5 hours = more than two work weeks of stuff to listen to in that format alone.)
But I have yet to produce 50,000 words worth of one story. The closest I’ve come is the accumulated 160,000 words or so of Myke Phoenix adventures, but that’s 16 novelettes.
And so I understand how daunting 50,000 words are.
That’s why I hesitate on the brink of committing to write a minimum of four 60,000 word books in 2019, essentially the equivalent of five months of NaNoWriMo over 12 months.
For now, congratulations to those who reached their 50,000 words this month, and for those who did not: Don’t quit. Ray Bradbury wrote, in seven words I have taped just below eye level on this computer, “You only fail if you stop writing.”