My name is Jessie Anderson, and I’m a Digital Marketing intern here with Smithsonian Associates. November is almost upon us, and that means it’s National Novel Writing Month! People all over the United States will take the challenge, committing to write a 50,000 word novel before December 1. Always wanted to write a book? See your name sitting out on the coffee table? Me too. So this November, it’s happening. And I’m blogging here about the experience so you can join me!
Me, intellectually preparing to write a novel.
Now, I know this whole challenge might seem daunting. 50,000 sounds like (and actually is) a lot of words. We are all committed to so many things already, and it’s not like you can write a novel while you multi-task grocery shopping or catching up on a show. In addition to the time commitment, I often worry about whether or not people will actually care about what I will write. I wonder if my story will be enough to keep the attention of my friends and family, let alone anyone else out there. Or that I’ll even have enough to say. There are always those doubts or insecurities telling us it’s just easier or better not to try. But, making time for the things you love and accomplishing goals will always be worth it!
Ever since elementary school, I’ve gotten lost in the world of fiction and dabbled with writing. In second grade, I created the epic graphic novel Super Worm. My love for Viggo Mortensen in the fourth spurred the creation of the biting satire, Lord of the Belly Button Rings. As I grew to the ripe age of 12, my heart yearned to return to a simpler time. Thus, the nostalgic children’s tale Timmy the Purple Elephant was born. Though I have had writing opportunities since then, all of my work has come from from an assignment for either school or a job. I stopped taking time to write just because I wanted to, and I stopped telling my own stories.
Author and teacher Kathryn Johnson has written 40 (that’s not a typo) novels and was recently featured on the “Not Old, Better Show” podcast. In order to get ready for my NaNoWriMo experience, I’m attending her event at the Smithsonian this Saturday, and I absolutely love what she has had to say on the topic. During the podcast, she talked about how there are so many stories out there, that it may be impossible for you to believe that anyone will want to hear yours. That we won’t be good enough. In order to move past that, you just have to ignore those thoughts and voices and do what you love. Eventually, they will go away. Maybe you want to publish your book for all to see, or maybe you don’t. Maybe you just want the words for friends and family, or even for yourself. But either way, National Novel Writing Month is a way to get your story on paper. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but it will be told.
These blog posts aren’t going to be from one expert to another, but more of a way for us all to learn together. I’ll share what I learn from Kathryn Johnson’s event, as well as my own experiences with writing. And I hope that you will share yours, too.
So, here we go!