My Semi-Fictional Life #31 (What’s the Point?)

Hello, and welcome to my most click-baity title yet! Today I want to explain why I’m doing NaNoWriMo for the ninth time, especially when I’ve won seven times.

I get two questions quite often: What’s the point? and What are you trying to prove?

First, I have nothing to prove. I’ve written over thirty novels, published six under this name, as well as two short story collections, and usually (last year being the exception to the rule) blow right through November and well past the 50k word limit. I’m a storyteller. It is what I am. My job is writing. It’s how I pay the bills. This is no harder for me than it is for you to get up and go to work everyday. If you can do something, you do it. Talent helps, of course, and some would argue that I have none, but people buy and enjoy my work, so I must be doing something right. But you don’t need talent to do work. Natural gifts make things easier, certainly, but anyone can write 1,667 words every day. It takes dedication, sure. Of course it takes work ethic. And that’s something I’m quite sure I have. Talent? Well, that’s disputable and subjective. Objectively, I put in work. That is a fact. So, no, I have nothing to prove. Which brings me to…

What’s the point? Now there is a good question. The answer is simple, but it is still a good question. My reason for buckling down every November and bashing out a novel in 30 days is because I enjoy the sense of community. I enjoy cheering people on and watching other creative people succeed. It’s fucking great. Especially you newcomers who think you can’t and end up slaughtering that 50k word count. You guys rock. But everyone who tries, even those who fail, learn something from this. You learn that writing is either your thing or it’s not. Are you going to write the next great American novel, or win the Pulitzer with what you create in 30 days? Fuck no. But at least you know if this life is for you or not. Because working authors write. Everyone else is just talk.

I participate in NaNoWriMo for the same reason I’m on Facebook and Goodreads and Instagram and Twitter. I love community. I love the idea that individuals can come and celebrate success and  offer support and soothe failure.

Anygoo, there’s your answers. You want your excerpt now, don’t you. Okay. But, remember, this is between me and you…


Roberta rolled over and sat up to find her mother standing in the doorway. The woman’s body all but filled the space. She was damn near as wide as she was tall. The thought made Roberta giggle. She clapped a hand over her mouth to stifle it. Snot exploded from her nose as she was unable to contain her inebriated mirth.

“Look at you.” Mom shook her head almost imperceptibly. The sorrowful look in her eyes sobered Roberta just enough to stop her careless laughter.

“Just look at you,” Mom repeated.

Roberta wiped snot from her upper lip and smiled. She shrugged. “Monkey see, monkey do.”

Enough! That’s all you get. Might be too much, but oh well.

See you tomorrow!


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