Proving once again that I have less sense than the average person I've persuaded myself that it would be fun to get involved with the National Novel Writing Month. Yep I'm going to try and crank out 50,000 words in the span of a month. That works out to be around 1400 per day, or about 60 words per hour, or 1 word per minute. Wow one whole minute to think up a new word: how hard can this be?
Yeah I know that's not how it's going to work, no matter how hard I try to look at it that way. Although, since the only person who's actually got to read the thing is me, there's nothing preventing it from being gibberish. Or one could simply do a hell of a lot of cutting and pasting, and quote from a million different stories you like and… might as well just type the letter "x" 50,000 times if you're going to do that and call it an experiment in existential minimalism: or a really long algebraic equation.
NaNoWriMo, which is how they refer to themselves, was the brainchild of one Chris Baty a few years back. He thought it would be a hoot to see if he could use the Internet to get a few people across the U.S. involved in something as outlandish as attempting to plunk down 50,000 words on paper in the span of thirty days. Little did he know how many nut jobs like myself actually would want to do this psychosis-causing exercise.
Now, of course, the National in the title has been rendered obsolete—heck, how else could a beady-eyed Canadian like myself be taking part otherwise?—with participants from around the world. They've even managed to turn it into a fundraising project whereby they solicit donations from which they build libraries, this year in Laos. Last year, they successfully built three libraries in rural Cambodia, bringing books to people who would most likely not have had access otherwise. (You don't have to participate in the insanity to contribute, and you don't have to contribute to participate.)
So why would anyone do this form of masochistic torture willingly? It's not just a few loonies either, we're talking projected numbers of 55,000 participants for this year's event/marathon. I can't speak for anyone else, so I'll try to speak for myself. Perhaps getting a peak under my hood will help explain this form of mass hysteria.