November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Aspiring writers challenge themselves to write a novel (defined as 50,000 words) in 30 days. It’s an exercise in putting aside excuses and distractions in order to get it done.
It’s something I’ve successfully participated in three times (I attempted it this year but I’m failing miserably). The result has been three rough novels that otherwise never would have come in to being. I’ve always wanted to write a novel but the prospect has been too daunting. The idea of coming up with a plot, committing it to paper and then sitting down to write it out has always seemed impossible. I could never get anything quite right and each effort failed under the weight of expectations.
But NaNoWriMo offers freedom. The intimidated writer is encouraged to just write. Give up the plots and plans and just write. That’s the only way you can stay on track to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Don’t edit, don’t proofread, don’t think—just write. Accomplishment is the goal. You can go back later and make it better, but for now just do it.
That’s the idea: A short-term, realistic-yet-difficult goal will allow you to overcome the inertia and get started.
I think the church could use NaNoWriMo.
Not to write novels, but to tackle some of those communication projects that just never happen. What has your church always dreamed of doing but never had the time to tackle? Launching a website? Redesigning the bulletin? Staging a dramatic production? Hosting a drop-in community center?
What if you applied the principles of NaNoWriMo to your big dream? What if you tried to see how much you could accomplish in a month? What if you committed to a realistic yet bold goal and committed to making it happen? What kind of communication change could you spark?
Understand that the pressure cooker of NaNoWriMo is not intended to be a year-round ordeal. It’s supposed to be a limited, short-term kick in the pants to get things moving. It works best for projects with an end goal in sight that need a lot of work on the front end. No expecting year-round miracles from your overworked volunteers.
But I think this kind of approach to projects could be a game-changer for churches that can’t seem to get started, moving them past dreaming and into doing.
It works for fickle, procrastinating writers like myself. Why not church communicators?