It’s November and that means four things are for sure:
1. Mariah Carey wakes from her eternal slumber to ravage the radio waves for exactly 61 days about what her demands are for the Christmas season.
2. Everyone must follow the archaic tradition of traveling back in time for exactly one hour even though we don’t know why, and we don’t really want to.
3. Executives from Energy Corporations across the country rejoice because they’ll be able to pay their small island mortgage payments because humans have to be able to heat their homes.
4. Writers, unpublished authors, people that claim to be writers, and anyone in between have the excuse to say, “I managed to get some writing done, thank you NaNoWriMo.”
I know what you’re saying, “Jim, you’re so cynical.” And yes, I am. But here’s four things you need to know about me:
1. All I want for Christmas is, for once in my life not to be forced to listen to Mariah Carey belting about how much she wants “you” whenever I walk into a retail store or accidentally switch on the radio station that plays Christmas music 24/7 for the foreseeable future.
2. Why should I have to turn back time, thus following the directives of a Cher song? It’s 2022, we’ve survived a pandemic, but we still have to shave an hour off our daily lives even though we all know we’re not really “saving” any time.
3. I refuse to pay for heat until I can’t feel my toes. As such, please don’t tell my rental company that I’m going to be burning all the James Patterson books I’ve been stockpiling this year in order to heat my apartment. Two quick things… No, you really shouldn’t burn books. Yes, I used to live in a place called “Spark Jefferson”, but why do you ask?
4. I’m one of those idiots that use NaNoWriMo as an excuse to get some writing done. So, I can joke about it without being cancelled… right?
In all seriousness, November is National Novel Writing Month and I’m sure you’ve all heard about it sometime down the line so I won’t bore you about why or why you shouldn’t attempt it. Plus, it’s already about a week into the thing so if you haven’t started by now, you’re seriously behind.
The one take away from NaNoWriMo is that it encourages you to write on a daily, or other regular, basis. Let’s face facts here. If you want to be a successful author, you have to be able to publish on a regular basis. In our society, constant content is the way to success. There’s a reason why a lot of YouTubers have been talking about mental health and burnout. It’s because many of them, the successful ones, produce daily videos. It’s the same with authors. As much as I dog on James Patterson, the man is a household name. I don’t think I have to explain what kind of books he writes to you all by now because you’ve probably already heard of him or read something by him.
The same goes for authors like Stephen King, Colleen Hoover, Nora Roberts, and Brandon Sanderson. They are all successful because of two things:
1. They have decent enough stories.
2. They have a loyal fan base because they publish ALL OF THE TIME.
And there’s the catch. You’re going to tell me, “But Jim, they can afford to publish all the time because that’s their main job.”
And that’s true. They don’t have to work at a gas station for twelve hours a day. They don’t have to work 80-hour work weeks. They get paid to write their books.
I understand it. My main career is being the Managing Editor of The Pilot News Group and it takes up most of my time. Don’t get me wrong, I love the job. The last thing I want to do when I get home is to plop myself in front of my personal computer and write.
However, the month of November forces me to do exactly that. I force myself to sit down and write whenever and wherever I can so that on Dec. 1 I can proudly say, “I’ve completed NaNoWriMo.”
Of course, I have no friends left because I’ve forsaken all friendships because I’m writing. By Nov. 15, my family has quit asking me if I want to come over and have dinner with them because they know I’m behind schedule. And I’m basically as smelly as a cave troll because I haven’t had a chance to do laundry or take a shower because I’ve been too busy writing.
I’ll let you decide if that paragraph is an exaggeration or not.
In my opinion, being an author is the toughest job. For one thing, you don’t get paid until you’ve done the work. And what you do get paid isn’t even a fraction of what you’re truly owed. What you do produce is the result of your own imagination and what little feedback you do get is going to be mostly negative which can be crippling to the author. In order to survive, unless you’re famous, you have to be able to write on top of working a normal 9-5 job.
Sorry, this whole rant has gotten away from me. I’ve been trying to convince you that writing daily is one of the key things to being a successful writer. All that I’ve managed to do is question my reasoning for even wanting to be a writer. Well, if you’re still here, thank you for putting up with my ranting. If I’ve managed to maintain my sanity, I’ll be back again next week. Hopefully, I’ll have some type of cohesive topic to rant about.
Until then, keep calm and write on!
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