I’m going to try something new for the next 30 days. It’s actually something I wanted to do a year ago, but I got sidetracked in my three-month journey that was reading Infinite Jest. I’m finally going to give National Novel Writing Month (Or NaNoWriMo to the kids) a shot.

The idea behind NaNoWriMo is that anyone can write a novel, you just need a strict plan and lots of encouragement. Their plan is simple: write 50,000 words over 30 days. Good words, bad words, in between words. Doesn’t matter, just write. If you can pour out 1667 words per day, at the end of the month you might not have the next great American novel, but you can call yourself a novelist.

I don’t enter this endeavor with great expectations. I have a very rough idea of what I’d like to write about. But I don’t have outlines, character sketches, or even a real idea of how to get from A-to-Z. The idea is loosely based on things that have happened to me, a combination of events from different parts of my life brought together to one time period for literary purposes. If I’m lucky enough to get to 50,000 words and have a decent ending, I still don’t expect it to be some great work of art, though.

This is all about going through the process, getting those words on the page (or into the text file), and learning about what it takes to put a long piece of writing together. I’d love to write a book of some kind at some point. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction I don’t know right now. Going beyond a few thousand words seems like a monumental task. If nothing else comes from this, I would love to get to December 1 and have a better understanding of the preparation, commitment, and effort it takes to write a book.

If I get really lucky, what I write won’t completely suck, and somewhere inside is a nugget that I can use to write something I might try to get published. But that’s the absolute high end of my goals for this, and not something I’m expecting. I just want start and complete the project so I can say that I did it.

“Will I get to read any of this?” I can hear some of you asking. Probably not. Since it is based, at least for now, on some things from my life, I don’t know that I want to share them with the world. At least not yet. However, I expect the project to jog some interesting memories, and if any of those feel like they could be a blog post as well, I will certainly post them here. I just don’t plan on uploading the entire file at the end of the month and letting everyone read it.

So that’s what I’m going to be up to for the next month. When you break it down to 1667 words per day, it sounds within reach. I can write a couple thousand words a day easy when I put my mind to it. The challenge is connecting those words to each other each day for a month. Thinking about that is when my confidence begins to fail me.

I’ll let you know how it goes.