National Novel Writing Month is a huge thing in the writer world. We love to punish ourselves and what better time of year to try and squeeze in 50K than over the holidays? This will be my fourth year. The first year it was hard, I wasn’t used to finishing anything and I would write all over the place, never sticking to one thing. This was how I wrote for years. I would flit back and forth between projects because I never showed anyone my work and I never wrote for anyone but myself. If a character had something to say I’d write it down, plot an entire story around it, figure the character out then move on. But I made myself finish that first year and I will be forever thankful I did. I didn’t ever finish that novel and maybe I never will, but it was 50 thousand words, further than I’d taken all but my first book. (My first book will forever haunt me. I’ve already re written it three times and it’s still not perfect.)
Finishing a novel can be the hardest first step for a new writer. Each finished book makes it a little easier to finish the next and each finished book teaches me something about writing. As writers we learn as we go. There may be a ton of ‘how to write a novel’ handbooks for sale, but the truth of the truth of it is, it’s different for every single person. What works for someone may not work for anyone else. Creativity comes to people in different ways.
For someone who writes all the time 50,000 words in a month isn’t a huge challenge. I go up and down with my writing. Some months I feel like I barely produce and others I do well over fifty thousand words. When I look back at this year and the five pieces I have done, it’s evident it does balance out. The year before last, I did 1.5 times NaNo to challenge myself. 75,000 words. Last year I did double. 100,000 words, which I barely made by the skin of my teeth.
This year I feel like a marathon runner who’s coming off an injury. The 50,000 seems daunting, as I’m going to spend the first three days of the month driving and then at least a few weeks unpacking and getting used to an entirely new place. Coming off a rough summer and then an uphill climb to moving this fall I don’t know if I have the mental capacity to even complete the 50K. I feel like taking the rest of the year off, but alas I have a character who won’t shut up, even if it’s not the book I meant to write, something is better than nothing.
So here is to feeling like a beginner at NaNo again. I hope some of you will join me. If there is anyone interested in getting in on a group for NaNo, let me know. I also have a kick ass spread sheet to keep track of word count I can share.
To do list for the week:
Drive half way across the country.
Finish plotting new book.
Unpack all the shit.
Get kids into new school.
Find new Starbucks to take up residence in.
Song of the week: Lo-Fang #88