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I’m all for traditions – customs, rituals, holidays, celebrations, whatever. I love them and like to see them maintained. Events which happens every year and does so because ‘it’s always been that way’ touch me in a special place in my heart. So, I thought I would dedicate this blog post to one of the solemnest and most important traditions of my people.

The coming month will see my people fasting and praying, working hard to appease their gods. They will go without sleep, without food and spend long hours in angst filled contemplation on the human spirit. When this time of trial is over, they will emerge from it as better people – stronger and more capable of dealing with the every day stresses and strains. It is a sacred time, a testing time, a time of enlightenment.

What am I talking about? Why, NaNoWriMo of course… 🙂 Possibly the most important celebration of geekdom and social mediadom ever, eclipsing even ‘International Talk Like a Pirate Day‘ in it’s importance. I may be exaggerating here, of course. As you know, nothing could possibly eclipse Talk like a pirate day… Well, except maybe Talk Like a Dalek day….

National Novel Writing Month has been around for quite a few years. In fact, it was first run in 1999 when it had only 21 participants. This makes it, in internet terms, an ancient tradition which harkens back to the days BF (Before Facebook). It has since grown in size to 200,000 recorded writers taking part in 2010. The goal is simple: write 50,000 words and report them on the NaNoWriMo website between the 1st and the 30th of November. It is possibly the largest (well, certainly the most well known) writer productivity challenge in the world. It is a great way to learn discipline – to try to dedicate yourself to writing every day not just when you feel like it. This is a good thing and should be encouraged, which is why I consider NaNoWriMo to be an important tradition in Geekdom.

However, I have a confession to make. I am a heretic. I do not follow the ancient tradition of NaNoWriMo as a true follower of the Path of Geek should. I spurn my geekish ancestors and bring shame upon those who follow the true path with my progressive and non-orthodox ways. I have never signed up for NaNo nor even made any effort to increase my writing output in November. It is shameful, I know, but I do have a very good reason and it is all to do with timing.

I’m a teacher. As such I tend to get some wonderful summer holidays to luxuriate in and get lots of writing done. Six whole weeks of it, in fact. Sheer bliss. However, once September comes, the school term starts and things get a lot busier. OK, at the moment I am what we call a ‘gentleman of leisure’ (which is another name for scrounging layabout) and so am not expected to be working in a school at the moment. However, past experience has taught me that November (which lands just after the first half term holiday of the school year) is often a busy time for supply jobs to start rolling in and that means I have no guarantee of free time between now and December. So, rather than commit to NaNo and risk failing because a big job comes in that sucks up all my free time, I prefer to keep writing as normal and be there in spirit for those who are suffering the months of privation ahead.

Of course, I am also supporting in other ways – including doing at least one guest post in the coming month so that someone doing NaNo can free up more time for writing…

So, to those who are about to write, I salute you. I’ll be here on the touchline with the half time oranges and the mixed metaphors…

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