This November, I’m doing something crazy, something I’ve been toying with for ages. Every year, writers from around the world participate in this crazy, off-the-rails, manic form of group hysteria called National Novel Writing Month, foreshortened to “NaNoWriMo”. The idea is to pump out the first draft of a novel in 30 days time. Writers are encouraged to just write, to get in that mode where you just put the story to paper (as it were) and not worry about whether it is the great American Novel or whether you’re the next Dan Brown. The minimum word count is set to 50,000 words, which means you need to pump out at least 1,666 words per day. I plan on taking one day per week off, which will boost my daily word goal to almost 2,000.
In practice, I can dash off 2K words in a day pretty easily. My problem is that I find it hard to resist editing as I go, and that is really NOT what NaNoWriMo is all about. My writing “process” is kind of all over the place, and NaNo seems like it might be a good way for me to exercise those “writing mode” muscles, hopefully without sabotaging myself midway through the project.
I’m looking for a “writing” buddy. The good folks at NaNoWriMo tell us that having someone to commiserate with, share ideas and frustrations, and keep each other honest when it comes to word goals, will help us through the month. If you have ever entertained the idea of writing a novel, now is as good time as any. Stop making excuses about how busy you are, I’m busy too, let’s just get this done!
I’m currently outlining my novel, tentatively called “Cobalt Fire”. When young Coby wakes up in his father’s arms, he is confused and disoriented. Nobody wants to talk about the accident that almost killed him, or why he has no memories at all of his life prior to waking up. Now all Cody wants to do is recover his memories, and find out who he really is. Some things might be better left undiscovered.
Why am I telling you all this? Mainly, to make sure I actually freaking do it. By committing to it publicly, I’ll need to have a pretty amazing excuse for not completing the first draft by November 30.
Yes. I am shaming myself into doing the work.
I also wanted to let my social circle know that I’m dedicated my evening times to doing this. This means, come November, there will be times when I do not answer messages, phone calls, tweets, pokes, PMs, beeps, tones, sirens or pretty much anything else, during the times that I am writing. I won’t be incommunicado for the entire month, but if you send me a message or comment and I don’t answer back immediately, you’ll know why. I’ll be toiling away in Scrivener’s “Distraction Free” mode.
I do expect to keep you up-to-date throughout, so you can cheer me on or tell me what a miserable failure I am (your choice!) or give as many damns as you please.
For more information on National Novel Writing Month, check out their website ate http://nanowrimo.org.