Newspaper reporters understand the power of the deadline as a motivator. They simply don’t have the time to procrastinate. They have to meet deadlines every day. My 15 years of experience as a newspaper reporter prepared me well for the rigors of NaNoWriMo.
It could not have come at a better time. I was lurching toward the finish of my work in progress–a novella about politics, rap music, and social media. I wasn’t feeling it. Compounding my lack of productivity, I started this blog in September and it was taking a lot of time–time I could have spend writing fiction.
So why take up the challenge of NaNoWriMo? First, I have always wanted to do it. Second, I had a killer idea (forgive the pun) for a murder/mystery. This story had been in my head for about ten years. Third, I needed to shake the doldrums.
I had no doubt I could do it. Then Mother Nature put up an obstacle. On October 30, Connecticut got slammed by the worst autumn snow storm in its history. We are now into Day 6 without power. I initially began writing by hand but that didn’t work for me. I’m too wedded to writing on the laptop. We are staying with friends now and I am able to write every day. My entry, tentatively entitled, “Bonus Baby,” now is at 2,800 words.
The lesson here: there is no way I would have put in the kind of effort I have over the past four days, especially given the weather challenges, without the presence of the November 30 deadline for completing the novel. That is the power of urgency.