A Challenger Has Appeared (and it’s me)

How’s it going everybody? This is going to be a non-fiction post, but hopefully an exciting one, so stick around. I’m only doing this so it’s public and hopefully so it keeps me honest.

Next month is November (sorry, spoilers). This means two things. First, it means that I will be experiencing my first November in a retail job. If you’ve never worked retail, let me break it down for you. As it has been explained to me by my co-workers, it’s hell. Unbridled hell of at least the 5th or possibly even the 6th circle. Apparently everyone has “wised up” to the conditions of the holiday shopping season and have therefor decided to do all of their Christmas shopping in the month of November. Which means that the shit hits the fan a month earlier than it did in olden days. Not only that, but I work in a toy store (THE toy store, as it happens). That’s right, thousands of parents a week will walk in through the automatic doors at the front of my store with various blades and firearms concealed on their person and play a deadly game of cat and also cat with one another as they attempt to buy the one present that will make their kid not hate them for a few days a year. Apparently not a year has gone by in the past few years at my store without blood being shed (no deaths though…..yet).

So what does this mean for me? Well, besides a lot of stress (boo) and more hours/money (yay), not much. I do most of my holiday shopping online these days and even if I didn’t my store discount doesn’t mean all that much when I’m not buying toys for anyone. It does mean one thing, however, but only with some extra context. Which brings me to the second thing November means.

November is National Novel Writing Month (aka, NaNoWriMo).

Full disclosure, I don’t intend to write a novel. Not yet anyway. “But E.W.! Why not?” you ask me in my imagination. And my answer is this: BECAUSE! Because, damnit, I haven’t got even the most basic premise for a novel in mind, much less months of research and outlining done. And I’m not going to sully myself for an entire month writing some inferior drivel that I’d be ashamed to put my initials on.

So, what does this all mean? It means that instead of that, I’m going to write some inferior drivel that I WON’T be ashamed to put my initials on…. Let me explain.

In the month of November I, E.W. Morrow, am going to participate in my own writing challenge. I am going test my ability to write consistently during one of the most hectic times of the year for me in my job. I’m going to see if I have what it takes to separate myself from the day to day stress and tedium and develop the dedication and the discipline I need to take my writing to the next level. To do this I am going to follow a strict set of rules that I will outline here for all the world to see.

November Writing Challenge: The 10 Demandments (wordplay)

1. Write 2,000 words per day. No exceptions.
2. Post everything I write to keep myself honest.
3. Any amount I write each day past the 2,000 word mark will not be deducted from the next day’s total.
4. Unless the unthinkable happens, no transferring of daily writing amounts will be allowed.
5. Switching topics/stories during the day will be allowed, but nothing I write less than 666 words (1/3 of the daily total) will be counted towards the daily goal.
6. Rule 5 may be considered null and void if, and only if, the current day’s stated goals include anything that limits length (such as writing the introduction for a story 5 times in different ways to practice my re-writing skills)
7. No specific goals for writing each day are required.
8. No daily challenges from comments to this blog, or comments made in real life, will never be turned down and must be completed at the earliest possible time.
9. “Edits” of previous works only count if the new text is at least 50% different from the old text. (I will go back and edit smaller things later, possibly as a December Challenge).
10. Writing may be done by hand and then typed. Not posting daily is acceptable only if the writing has been completed but not properly typed/if my internet goes out. This does not exempt me from writing. Typing a previous day’s writing counts as 0 words for the day.

There it is. My personal November Writing Challenge set in digital stone for all the world to see. I will try to make posts daily regardless of how tired I am from work. I will alter my writing schedule around work as need be (waking up early to write, writing later than usual, etc…). I would like to become a writer as a profession. A novelist/short fiction author who maybe dabbles in the non-fiction/opinion piece for some website or magazine, maybe do some writing for video games (dream job, btw). This will be my personal test to see if I have what it takes to at least write a consistent amount for a full month.

If all goes well, by the end of November I will have written 60,000 words. That’s a short novel (kind of). The simple achievement of churning out so much work in month would give me hope that I could actually write a novel in less than a few years. Obviously it isn’t going to be a perfect analogue, but it is the first step.

Let me know if you have any suggestions. If you read all 10 of my rules, you’ll know what I mean.

Thanks all. I’ll see you in November. Unless I finish something in the next few days. Then I will see you in October, and THEN I will see you in November.

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