As some of you know, I’ve committed to participating in NaNoWriMo this year. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writers Month, and is a program to support writers in their efforts by providing a yearly event wherein writers concentrate on completing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. The focus is on quantity, not quality. You are supposed to write as much and as fast as you can, and then go back and revise and polish at your leisure later.
Most people have a novel inside them wishing to be written. Most of us know it will never sell, but the story is there, and we want to tell it. But the idea of writing a novel is daunting, and the specter of perfectionism is always hanging over any effort you put forth. NaNoWriMo is designed to frighten that specter away for a time. “Write crap, but write” could be the slogan.
I’ve known about NaNoWriMo for years and always thought it was a good idea. But I’ve always had various excuses not to participate. This year those excuses are fewer, and the desire to accomplish something is high. Perhaps there is some escapism involved, as well. But I don’t foresee there being a better time to do this, so this is the year.
It’s also time to get a novel out of my head. I’ve had the idea for this novel for close to 20 years now, and I’m really starting to get tired of keeping it there, of continually telling myself “some day I’ll do it.” It’s time to either write the darn thing already or let it go.
So far so good. With the November 1st starting-line looming I’ve been taking a little time each day for several weeks to sketch out my plot, characters, and world (it’s a fantasy novel). The idea is to think it through enough in advance that it will mostly write itself. And I do find the NaNoWriMo approach liberating. Knowing in advance that I’m going to write crap by any means necessary to just get through it is so far banishing the specter.
Of course I can’t actually start writing until Tuesday, so who knows if the specter is really banished? We’ll see. I suspect it will still be one of the hardest things I’ve done for awhile. But most of the hard things I’ve done also turn out to be among the most rewarding. I’m looking forward to this.
Stay tuned. I will post progress reports throughout the month.