Is This The Year?

I’m about to totally stress myself out and sign up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which happens every November. Just thinking about it makes my palms sweat. All those story ideas I’ve got lying all over the place on Post-it notes and on the back of ATM receipts, napkins, and in a computer file titled “Ideas” suddenly seem stupid and hackneyed and about as likely to turn into an entire book as a Honey Boo Boo episode (should). Actually, I don’t really have that many ideas.

But I must do it. I really must. I must at least try. I want to blow through my pattern of anal-writing, that is, waiting until I have a clear idea of exactly where I’m going, along with needing to “feel” the rhythm of the words and then once I do, to correct every misspelling, every missed or excess comma before I can move on.

When I was writing Mine Dances, my second YA paranormal novel, I got a feel for what it was like to wing it this one time, to just go at it by writing down what needed to happen next in two bulleted pages without stopping. It was exhilarating. Now, while that isn’t exactly free writing, it did give me a glimpse of what it would be like to forge ahead, right “feel,” right grammar be damned. I’d use the technique whenever I got stuck. Now I want to do it for an entire book.

I made a resolution to write a first “shitty” draft without stopping after I finished Mine Dances, back in 2004. And then came my memoir, Loveyoubye, with all its attendant emotional booby traps and doubts about my entire life and self, and I moved to another level of writing. I trust myself more now. So along with Scrivener a computer program, I’m eyeing (it purports to “help you get to the end of that awkward first draft”), I do believe I might just try to fulfill my resolution next month. Any advice from pros of the NaNoWriMo gratefully accepted.

14 thoughts on “Is This The Year?

  1. I have always been intrigued by the idea of NaNoWriMo, but would never be able to bring myself to do it. First, I’d have to have an idea for a story, and that’s pretty much a deal-breaker right there. But even if I got past that, then there’s all those problems you mention, plus, I’m not so good at sticking with a plan; I’d be lucky to churn out a few hundred words a day. 😉 But I am always impressed by those who can make it happen, and I wish you luck on your journey of self-discovery.

    1. It’s having a full idea that’s making me sweat. Last night I managed to write a scene that just popped into my head. But a scene doth not a story make. Gulp. Thanks for stopping by and for wishing me well.

  2. I signed up too! My story idea is all over the place, but if you don’t try then you’ll never know! Best of luck I hope we cross the finish line together with our 50 000 word masterpieces!

  3. Hi Rossandra. I can’t call myself a NaNo pro yet, but I did the August Camp Nano a couple of months ago and ‘won’. That novel is in the editing phase – on hold while I finish up my first novel’s edits. So November will spark the third.

    I call my own writing process “word vomit” (maybe I’ll resurrect my old blog post by that name in honour of November), and that works well for Nano. Just write and write and write. I am doing NaNoWriMo and can’t wait. More exciting that stressful. Think of it as an adventure, and focus on daily (sometimes hourly) word count goals, not on the big picture. Then it will just happen, word by word, day by day. Or (stealing from Ann Lamott because she uses my own nickname), Bird by Bird…. 😀

    1. So you’re one of those people, eh? Able to just go, go, go. How I envy you? And winning too at that. You had an outline of sorts, or at least an idea, right? I’m going to pop over to your blog, in case you don’t return for my reply. Thanks for stopping by.

          1. I do have the idea. And the title (have had that for 8 years). Lots of stuff to work with in my head, but that’s about it. August camp started with an idea the quickly changed to something completely different. And I only figured out the title to that one last week. 😀 Each book is different…

          2. Sounds like you’ve got a bead on the whole process. So the August camp was a prep? a mini NaNoWriMo? I’m going to be reading everything I can about other people’s experiences.

  4. I’m doing it for similar reasons — i.e., to see if I can write in a different way. I’ve never needed the push to get work; but I’ve never written via a schedule to produce a certain number of words in a limited time. I have an idea. And with friends like you, I have the support I need.

  5. You inspire me! I think writing a novel is courageous. After writing a non-fiction self-help book recently, I’m not so sure I have the creative juice left to write my novel, heehee! I believe the shitty rough draft is magical. It ends up being that way, IMHO. In my case, I say thank goodness for editors 🙂 Good luck and enjoy the journey.

    1. That’s so funny you should say that. I started out wanting to write a “spiritual” guide/self-help book, waaay long ago, but it just wasn’t happening. I just didn’t know enough about writing and ran into too many roadblocks. My two novels incorporate certain of the principals I was trying to put out there. Thanks for your wishes, and thanks so much for stopping by.

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