Friday, November 2, 2012
The Lunacy that November Brings
Ah yes...November has arrived, and with it comes the unenviable compulsion to immerse myself into the world of National Novel Writing Month. Affectionately known as NaNoWriMo by us insane literary types, it is a time when 300,000+ writers commit to the seemingly impossible task of individually creating one novel each within the span of thirty days. As a past winner, I can honestly say that it is entirely possible to complete this commitment. Granted, it's usually not pretty when we emerge, blinking in the unfamiliar daylight, on the other side this task, but it carries a certain sense of satisfaction in knowing that we attempted it and survived. Even if it will take another couple months to shift from reheated, drooling zombies to our natural state of being - which may or may not be an improvement - it's well worth the effort.
I've made a pretty good start by committing 2212 words (of the requisite 50,000 by month's end) to my laptop on the first day. Day two has begun, and I'm questioning whether I'm practicing resistance in the form of writing this blog when I should be writing about the adventures of a certain someone in a certain precarious position. I rationalize by stating that I'm warming up the cerebellum a bit - flexing and stretching the noggin - before I dive in. After all, one must be on top of one's game when one propels one's main character from one bad decision to another. (It matters not that I just used the word "one" five times in that last sentence - it merely demonstrates the fact that NaNo novels don't have to be good, they just have to be written. Besides, that's what editing is for.)
And thus, this is a call-out for any aspiring writers out there who have always wanted to write a novel, but were afraid to try. Being only day two, it's not too late to participate in NaNo 2012. The suggested formula of stringing together 1667 words per day into some semblance of sense is merely a guideline. If you follow this formula, you can write 57.5 extra words per day from here on out and still make it by November's end. Most of us seasoned NaNoers know, however, that there will be days when the words just pour out happily onto the screen; dancing together with mirth in a never-ending flow of abandon. On other days, we're lucky if we can squeeze three words from our heads that land with a barely-audible plink onto the page.
With that, my best suggestion is this: when the words are flowing, by all means, let 'em flow! DON'T answer the phone. DON'T check Facebook. Let your lover fly solo - if he or she loves you, he or she will understand your need. Brew up a ton of coffee and get that butt in the seat and those fingers on the keys. The rest will happen organically.
Remember: it doesn't have to be good, it just has to be written. Good luck and see you at the finish line!