Up for a Challenge

By Jordan McNeil

Ah yes, it’s that time of year again: NaNoWriMo. That’s National Novel Writing Month, which is a challenge that writers regularly take in the month of November to write 50,000 words in the span of one month.

I have attempted this challenge on multiple occasions in the past few years, to little success so far. One year I ended up with almost 10,000 words; another I ended up exactly where I started, with nothing written. I hadn’t been planning on attempting it again this year, since November is one of the busiest months during the fall semester. Classes are gearing up toward finals, all the big end-of-the-semester projects are due and I’m reaching the point where all I want to do with my rare free time is sleep and cuddle with baby goats.

However, once I saw that quite a few of my friends and classmates were participating in NaNo this year, my plans changed. I caved into peer pressure and signed up on the NaNoWriMo website as a participant. I haven’t started the month out strong, but hey, I’ve got time. And honestly, I don’t have to make the goal of 50,000 words — I’ll be happy with just getting words down on a semi-regular basis.

Even though I hadn’t been planning on taking the challenge this year, I’m glad I changed my mind. It’s good to challenge yourself, to set goals that may require more work than usual and strive for completing them.

It’s even better if you have some friends who are completing the challenge with you, or at the very least are aware of your own challenge, to help encourage you through the rough patches and keep you on track.

Challenging yourself is a way to grow, to improve yourself or to maybe just prove that yes, you are capable of doing what you set out to do. Even if you stumble or fail to reach your goal, you’ve still grown and learned more about yourself by simply setting the challenge and attempting it. You never know what you can do unless you try.

So, I’m going to set out to do some serious writing this month. Who knows? Maybe this is my year to actually sit down and make myself work through the laziness and busy schedule, to accomplish my goals, to reach a word count that I’m proud of.

I’ll never know unless I try.