It’s that time again. Almost November and time to punch out a full length 50,000 word novel in the space of 30 days. Though this will be my fifth year participating in NaNoWriMo, I’ve only managed to write a full novel twice.
This year my story will be written from the perspective of a male. That will be a new challenge for me, but I’m going to work from the presumption that all people are just people deep down. But despite that, I know it’ll be a stretch to write a man convincingly. And I’m not expecting perfection. Just a wildly imperfect draft. 😀
If you’re interested in participating, I HIGHLY recommend reading “No Plot? No Problem!” by Chris Baty. And it’s only $1.99 for the Kindle edition right now!!! That’s a huge bargain!!!!! I paid full price for my Kindle version! You guys really are lucky duckies.
Back on topic, Chris Baty founded NaNoWriMo back in 1999 as an experiment. And what came of the experiment is this world wide event that reaches thousands of people from all walks of life. You can write a book in a month if you’re a scientist, a mechanic, a food server, a student or anything in between. His methods, as outlined in his book, about how to find the extra time to write, how to overcome plot obstacles (ninjas!) and how to keep slogging through the writing even when it stops being fun are what make this book so important if you’re going to try NaNoWriMo.
If you’ve always wanted to write a book, if you’ve said time and again, “Someday I’m going to write a novel,” then this is the event for you! NaNoWriMo takes you from being a someday novelist to a real life one! And when you put the final words on the end of your manuscript, you are suddenly elevated to the same tier as your favorite author. Because you know what you are when you write the words, “The End,” at the end of your 30 day masterpiece? You’re an author, my friend. You’re a novelist.
It’s so thrilling to realize that you’ve accomplished something you once thought was insurmountable. Also that you put your nose to the grind stone every day, the same way your favorite author does. So, in a small way, you and your favorite novelist are now peers. I like to think of Neil Gaiman (my favorite author) as being my writing buddy now. If we ever met in reality, I am just sure he’d see the same spark in me that he sees in himself when he looks in the mirror. He’d say, “Well Kristin, it sure looks as if you’re an author.” *squee!* (Oh let a girl dream, will ya?!)
Actually, Neil Gaiman is a supporter of NaNoWriMo. He wants to save all the libraries and see more writers in the world. Yes, I kind of idolize him, whatever. In a pep talk he wrote in 2007, Gaiman inspired me to sign up for NaNoWriMo, I realized that even someone as brilliant as he struggles. If Neil Fucking Gaiman can doubt his writing, yet push through, finish it and be brave enough to put it out there for the world to see, then I most certainly can up my game. These are his words exactly:
The last novel I wrote (it was ANANSI BOYS, in case you were wondering) when I got three-quarters of the way through I called my agent. I told her how stupid I felt writing something no-one would ever want to read, how thin the characters were, how pointless the plot. I strongly suggested that I was ready to abandon this book and write something else instead, or perhaps I could abandon the book and take up a new life as a landscape gardener, bank-robber, short-order cook or marine biologist. And instead of sympathising or agreeing with me, or blasting me forward with a wave of enthusiasm—or even arguing with me—she simply said, suspiciously cheerfully, “Oh, you’re at that part of the book, are you?”
I was shocked. “You mean I’ve done this before?”
“You don’t remember?”
“Oh yes,” she said. “You do this every time you write a novel. But so do all my other clients.”
I didn’t even get to feel unique in my despair.
So I put down the phone and drove down to the coffee house in which I was writing the book, filled my pen and carried on writing.
One word after another.
That’s the only way that novels get written and, short of elves coming in the night and turning your jumbled notes into Chapter Nine, it’s the only way to do it.
When I read that, something clicked for me. I hope something clicks for you too, would-be novelist. So join me!! Let’s go on a literary adventure together. I’ll be updating my blog throughout November with my word count totals. I encourage you to jump into the chaos and mayhem to submit to literary abandon. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be written.
As Ira Glass says in a pledge spot, “You see Common Sense standing over there by the door. Looking all shifty, smoking a cigarette, staring at you. And you… you’re just going to walk right past Common Sense.”
You, my novelist friend, you are going to walk right the fuck past common sense and write the novel you’ve been thinking about for years. This is your year!! It’s a crazy, half-baked idea, and you are going to jump in with both feet and no water wings on your arms. Just do it. Stop talking about it and just do it! You’ll be so glad you did!!!
OK, impassioned speech over. If you sign up on the NaNoWriMo website to being this adventure, please look me up. My username is kbeno (all lowercase.) We can be virtual writing buddies!
Also, if you missed my contest post earlier this week, you still have time to enter. Just comment on the post in this link with your favorite Halloween memory. You could win a $25 gift card to Target. Who loves ya, baby?