Every October in a writer’s life, there is one decision that must be made – and it has nothing to do with candy corn. It comes with the knowledge that, post-Hallowe’en, the November ritual known as NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month is looming large. Every October up to now, I have decided I would prefer not to. Most years, I’m trying to slow myself down, but this year, I’ve signed up, good and proper. I want to feel like my keyboard is on fire!
Why the change? I feel like I’ve been rewriting my second book forever, a slow and painstaking process. Now, while its fate is in the lap of the gods, I want to crash into my third book; partly to distract myself from worrying about the second book, partly to remind myself that I am a writer, not only a rewriter. For me, writing this marathon will feel a bit like running – and while I am unlikely to ever run one of those, I feel the need for speed, exertion, the simple exhaustion that will allow me to outrun my own fear of finishing, of completing and editing, and bring back the simple joys of starting something new and writing my heart out, without consequence.
You cannot write a novel in a month. That is the first misconception about NaNoWriMo. The goal is to write 50K in one calendar month, secure in the knowledge that 50K is not actually a novel and that the words will be dreadful. We are aiming for a quick and dirty first draft, nothing more. We want to spit the words out before our editor heads can stop us. Realistically, I won’t finish the first draft until sometime in January, but cranking out 50,000 words, or however I manage, will be a great start with some great company – all the other marathon writers, banging away at their own lonesome desks.
It’s not too late to sign up. And if you do, why not add me as a writing buddy? But quick – the race starts tomorrow!