NaNoWriMo, age, and time

As National Novel Writing Month participants everywhere know, NaNoWriMo begins less than a week from today–five days from the time this will be read by anyone besides myself. Some will argue four, but that’s just a different way of counting, sort of like the story of the mathematician who began counting with zero instead of one.

Besides celebrating the recent discovery of a plot for this crazy noveling challenge, I’ve been taking in the community and noticing how the dynamic has changed yet stayed the same since I joined in 2002. Obviously, there are a lot more people now than there were years ago. When I was new, I was one of the younger people on the forums. In fact, I remember bemoaning all my high school activities and wondering if anyone would know what I was talking about. (A few people did, actually, but of course, most people were adults.) Now there are more young people coming in, and suddenly I feel old. I shouldn’t feel old in the 20s forum when there’s a teens forum right above me (something that didn’t exist when I was new)! That’s just not allowed. Seeing all these young NaNoers–especially college freshmen–complain about how hard NaNo and school will be prompts me to reply and give myself as an example. You will survive. You will thrive. You will finish. We’ll ignore the fact that I finished NaNo with five and a half hours to go on my first year and wrote half the novel in five days.

From experience, I had a lot more spare time in college than I did in high school. High school really is a job just from the time it takes out of your day. Sure, college is as well from the studying and paper-writing and problem sets (and trust me, I had both–that’s the price I paid for being well-rounded), but you can be much more flexible with your time. Besides, one day these young NaNoers will be old NaNoers like me and wonder why the young NaNoers of the future are complaining about their oh-so-busy schedules. It’s the circle of NaNo. It’s beautiful.

6 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo, age, and time

  1. I can imagine that people with busy schedules have to find the time to write and don’t always have time to write every day. How many words do you plan to write a day? I plan to write 2,000 so can take a few more breaks towards the end of NaNoWriMo. It’s certainly interesting to see people getting older and new, younger people joining.

  2. Hmm thanks for that, I fall into the “young people complaining about school” category. It’s good to have a wake-up slap that it will not, in fact, kill me:) Good luck on your novel!

    africanstardust

  3. I hardly remember high school. I think the NaNo program started the year I graduated. I only found it either 2004 or 2005, but didn’t actually try my hand until 2005. I’m hoping I complete the challenge this time around. Good Luck!

  4. Now that I’m old (early 30s) and have kids I wonder what on earth I did with all my free time when I was younger. I think as you get older you tend to get more efficient with your time and it all sort of evens out.

  5. So now I must wonder, after reading this…if you are the same Sushi that I know of yore? Whom i watched work her way through college with what seemed to be a ridiculous load (though now, as i’ve managed to go back [finally] myself, i realize was nothing more than relatively normal)? that i always found delightfully endearing, and yet still lost track of anyway? 😀

    I’m formerly peppery_lime. 😀

  6. @Nanda: Everyone has to find the time to write, no matter how busy (or not busy!) they are. It’s more about discipline than time because everyone makes time for things they really want to do. As for my word count, I’m going for 2223 words per day (though I’ll likely aim for 2500) because my main goal is 66666 words. Yes, that’s intentional.

    @africanstardust: It’s my job to give people those kicks in the rear. Seven years of doing NaNo and school has taught me something. Good luck to you too!

    @Christina: You can do it. Just remember the very well-hidden secret: body in chair, hands on keyboard.

    @Stephanie (the first) : I’ll probably wonder the same thing when I’m older. Spare time? What’s that? Granted, when you’re younger you definitely have a lot more built-in socializing time, and as you get older and more settled into life, other things become important as well.

    @Stephanie (the second) : Your name is familiar, and there can’t be that many Sushis out there. I’m probably the person you’re talking about. And yes, we tend to exaggerate our own trials as we go through them, then look back and say, “That was it?” Hooray for going back to school!

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