Every November since 1998, writers and would-be writers have demonstrated a unique form of insanity: taking part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Participants aim to write the first draft of a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and 30. Sometimes, through the miracle of revision, some of the output is saleable. One such story is here.
This year I will be among those (pick all that apply) a) brave souls, b) desperate and blocked writers, and/or c) stark raving lunatics. I’ve considered it in the past and then promptly jammed out, but this year is different. Having just published a novel through Smashwords, I know just how much effort and sacrifice are involved in making it happen. While I’m about 10,000 words into a second one I’m lacking some momentum. Maybe tackling another genre and trying a new voice wasn’t so clever after all? Maybe It’s because I’m sidetracked by blogging and tweeting and reading RSS feeds and writing comments, all in the name of building a platform.
I’m counting on this disciplined but fun way of racking up the word count to be the kick in the butt I need. If I write every day, I need to pump out 1,666 words daily. If I miss a day or more, that number goes up. I’ve tried to clear the calendar of all but essential activities. All That’s happening so far is a dental appointment, a church perogy supper fundraiser, coordination of a planning session for 100 people, Remembrance Day, my son’s birthday, four Voice columns, clocks falling back November 6, and hubby’s four-day conference in Edmonton. Piece of cake.
I’m counting on the camaraderie and misery-loves-company aspect of this exercise for motivation and support. But staying strong against the time-suck of forums is critical. Maybe that could be a reward when the daily word count is complete.
In anticipation of this Big Deal I spent two good days trying to get my house in order. The visual clutter of stacks of books on every surface was getting to me. My once-brilliant system of alphabetizing by author (gee, maybe libraries are onto something) had disintegrated because I didn’t build in space for new acquisitions. I culled a few titles that will make their way to Goodwill. I dusted shelves. I repeated the process in my office.
As for the writing, I have loosely sketched characters and a premise for the story. I do not have a title. According to NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty’s book No Plot? No Problem!, planning too much can be a mistake. He recommends no more than a week’s effort.
The last days of October will be spent getting projects off my plate, planning nutritious, low-cal snacks, getting some of my music onto the iPod, and trying to flesh out my idea. A bouquet of flowers for my desk would be a nice touch. Have I convinced you to join me? It would be fun, from where I sit.