Tuesday, November 1, 2011

And So It Begins...

The calendar flips to November 1st today, which means it's time for me to put up or shut up.  I've talked a lot about being a writer and wanting to write more, about wanting to be held accountable to the task of putting words down on paper, and about getting past my own loud, progress-stopping inner critic and just put my writing out there to stand or fall on its own merit.  This month, I shall bring all three about.  I am participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

What is NaNoWriMo?  For those of you unfamiliar, it's described as well as anyone could on the NaNoWriMo website itself:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. This approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.
Now, celebrations that frighten small animals and children are the kind of thing I can really get into! But 50,000 words in 30 days seems a daunting task.  That means an average of about 1660 words a day, give or take.  Every day. Every damn day.

Confession time: I'm hedging my bets on this project just a wee bit.  I am showing up with the core of a story already in place.  I submitted a story to the Gloaming Gap website (if you don't have Gloaming Gap
bookmarked already, do so! It's a fantastic site where writers contribute short stories with either a horror or supernatural plot, or, like mine, something of a more psychological Twilight Zone-like bent), which will be appearing there after the turn of the year.  In this nascent form, it's about 1400 words - the right size for Gloaming Gap, but hardly enough in which to really explore the potential for the characters and the story.  Ever since I wrote that short story version, it has been nagging at me to do more with it.  So, I will.

Let's see, 1400 words already in means I only have to average 1620 words a day. Yes, that's much more manageable.  *headdesk*

Anyway, you can follow my daily progress here by clicking on the "Stats" tab (you can also see a brief description of the story and a short excerpt here).  Eventually there will be a widget here on the blog as well to let you know how I'm progressing, and I will surely be sharing my ups and downs through the process here as well.  Why? Well, I'm hoping you all will both cheer me on and keep me honest! A few "attaboys" will go a long way this month, I'm sure; similarly, a few kicks in the butt to get moving and get writing will be needed, too.  The more folks supporting me that way, the better!

So, it begins.  If all goes well, I'll have something of a novel by November 30.  As I said when signed up for this project, quoting David Byrne, "...my God, what have I done?"

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