Friday, October 15, 2010
For the last two years I have spent November writing the first draft of a novel while tens of thousands of people across the globe did the same. Because November is National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo for the initiated), and it is never a better time to write a novel than now.
A sentiment I'm taking to heart because I'm actually writing a novel this month, too. A pre-nanowrimo novel, because I need a jump-start on my sequel and then a jump-start on a different novel next month. Then I'm planning on spending December breathing, feeding my starving offspring and cleaning up all the messes I've allowed to pile up in the last two months.
Then the fun part begins. Editing my heart out.
At first, Nanowrimo might seem to make no sense to the professional writer, the "real" writer: why choose an arbitrary month to write? Why whip it out instead of carefully crafting it over time? Why join thousands of other writers who aren't writers in their everyday lives? Why write a shitty first draft?
As Anne Lamott points out in her book about writing, Bird by Bird, you have to start somewhere, and the shitty first draft is what gets the job done. Or else a lot of us get paralyzed by the urge for perfection and never write anything. If you get the plot down, it can be fixed. If you have a blank page, you can't.
And about that "real" writer crap--everyone who is compelled to write is a real writer. You never have to earn a dime at it, or have anything with a byline or a cloth binding. If you write, you're a writer. And many writers of Nanowrimo novels move onto published novels, or craft their shitty first draft into an awesome finished one. Lili St. Crow (author of the Strange Angels series), you go girl!
So writers, join me in November. The largest percentage of Nanowrimo writers ever completed their novels last year (or 50,000 words of their novel anyway). You could be one of them. If I can, you can.
To get more info about the Nanowrimo experience, go to http://www.nanowrimo.org/
Comment here if you get the noveling urge.