The ramblings of a freelance writer, novelist and avid reader.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Writing with a Ridiculous Goal

50,000 words in one month – that’s the goal and the anticipation of every November if you are one of the participants of NaNoWriMo each year. For me it’s a roller coaster ride of long nights, crappy food and song lyrics. And every year without fail when I sit down to type out those first words of a new novel on the first day of November…I cry. Literally cry. I mean I don’t think my writing is that good…or bad to deserve tears, but unlike the rest of the year when I’m writing, November isn’t about marketing me, selling my words or researching a darn thing. November is all about the art of writing words. And it is one of the many times I realize: Oh yeah, I really love doing this.

So for someone who has chosen writing as a fulltime profession, what is the difference in November? I mean why don’t I cry every time I sit down at my computer to type out words? I wish I had an answer for you, and maybe I will spend part of this month trying to figure that out. Can we just start with the fact that I have a word deadline, yet I still want to write more and blog about this experience! Seriously, I should be writing nano-words here, I’m behind. Well, I’m always behind until the end when I spend the last two days of November growling at loved ones and crying for entirely different, word count related reasons. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Huh, I guess I think the experience of NaNoWriMo has something to do with the collective masses around the world participating in this crazy – and yes, ridiculous – endeavor. I mean I have writing buddies from around the world (Hi writing buddies, each and every one of you is an inspiration!), plus you can just see the wheels turning as the communal daily word count goes up and up and up. So many people, so many novels, SO MANY WORDS…

It is really rather brilliant. Because even if half the words get deleted, thrown away or forgotten after November is over, you still have a lot words that survive. In the years to come those words grow and develop into teaching words, living and breathing words, words to live by and words to die by. The world can be changed by words; it can be manipulated and influenced by words. And for one month a year I get to see it all in action, be part of the shared word spewing, hoping that some of my words stick and become more.

Now that I’ve said too much and written too many non-nano-words, it is time to get back to work. Happy nanowing to all participants – I hope some of your words stick too!

Now stop reading this and get back to work already. If you aren’t participating in National Novel Writing Month, I hope you forgive this month of crazy blogs and enjoy my ramblings for their own merit. Who knows, you may even catch a glimpse inside a world you never knew existed before.

Oh yeah, before I go. Here is another Writing Commandment from that book I mentioned in my last blog:

II. Thou shalt begin and keep going till you’re through.
All beginnings are hard. The beginning of a novel is the hardest part to write. The beginning of each chapter is hard. The beginning of each day’s work is hard. Knowing that, grit your teeth and get past those beginnings. Then finish the book. Nothing’s more discouraging than an unfinished piece of work. Writing is rewriting. Let that give you confidence as you stumble along—you can and will make it better
after you finish a draft.
- Gillian Roberts’ You Can Write a Mystery

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