It's that time of year again... (on why I love NaNoWriMo)

That's right, folks, it's time for NaNoWriMo!

Yep. November 1 is the commencement of National Novel Writing Month.

In short, it's an excuse for us Bipolar/artistic types to have a month long manic episode in which we write like crazy, live in sheer insanity, drink too much coffee, blog about nothing except our novels, obsess about word counts, and try to write a 50,000 word novel in a month's time. It's insane, and why they decided to make NOVEMBER -- the month in which Thanksgiving occurs and the holiday season ramps up in full force -- the month in which one is supposed to accomplish said goal is beyond me. But I do know that it's possible. I did it last year. And I'm going to try it again this year.

Now, for all you haters out there, don't hate. I know that NaNo can be viewed as an event strictly for geeks who write Fan Fic and Emo girls who write vampire novels (and there are certainly many of those present in the NaNo forums), but I think it's an excellent tool for "serious" writers, too.

I do it because it's a month-long excuse to get my butt in the chair. There is a sense of community with the boards and the local write-ins and the podcasts. And there is a healthy, positive peer pressure present (how's that for alliteration!) that spurs me on to get my word count up there... I see my peers' word count graph grow and grow, and I am challenged to keep up.

Anne Lamott, in "Bird By Bird," talks about how, as a writer, you have to only be concerned at first with getting the words on the paper. She says to just get your butt in the chair and "write a sh***y first draft" (her words, not mine). This is why I do NaNo. I have a first draft of a novel from last year, which, incidentally, was my first attempt at writing fiction. I was pleased at the outcome. It needs much revision, but creatively, it was a huge milestone for me.

Last year, I had NO CLUE what I was going to write about until the moment my fingers touched the keyboard the first time. It fascinated me to watch as a story came to me and wrote itself, simply because I allowed myself to get out of the way and let it flow. That is when I fell hopelessly in love with the writing process. I started to view myself as a writer, and I let myself write.

This year, I am a little more prepared: I still have no plot idea, but I have a cast of characters -- rough sketches -- whom I am looking forward to getting to know as the month progresses. Last year's novel was genre fiction, and very plot driven. This year's, I think, will be more character driven.

We shall see.

At any rate, the typing begins on Thursday. I have to write 1667 words a day to stay on pace. Wish me luck.

Oh, and I may be posting excerpts here every now and then... if I feel brave. We'll see about that...


Mark Goodyear said...

You should spend several hours today playing around with the snowflake method to develop a plot.

It would definitely be worth your time.

I'd love to do NaNoWriMo this year, but

1) I already started a project, so even if I add 50,000 words to it, I'm still ineligible.

2) Have you heard about the Blog Network that ate the editor?

Lady Jane Grey said...

I do need to look into the Snowflake method again... I tried it last year, but I was too deep into the writing -- and too focused on just getting the word count up there -- and put it off.

Maybe I'll work on it tonight. Good call.

Blog Networks like to feed on editors. Didn't you know that? :)

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