Thursday, October 11, 2012


What the heck.  Everyone else is talking about it, so I might as well too.  The month is November, and the title stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It's an interesting concept--get together (virtually, of course) with all the people who are always saying they are going to write a novel, and commit to producing a draft (or some 50,000 words, anyway) in one month.  Clear the decks and make it a priority, presumably except when actually stuffing yourself on Thanksgiving turkey.  Have a website where people can log their progress and offer each other support.

So I'm intrigued by the idea, especially as all my novels have been written over the course of not days and weeks, nor even months, but years.  I have always shoehorned a bit of writing in here and there, right up to this year, when I committed to getting the second Ninja Librarian novel out in a year, which means working at it like I mean it, but still has let me take about eight months for a draft, (leaving four for revisions, though some revising has happened as I go, whenever I just don't have a new story in me).  Compressing that into a single month would mean taking a very different approach to my writing--not scheduling it in when other commitments allow, but putting aside other commitments to make writing my primary job.

To be honest, I'm not sure I could do it.  For one thing, some of my commitments are, well, things to which I'm committed.  I can't blow them off for a month.  I could still work around that--many people do NaNoWriMo while working full time.  I can only assume that they blow off commitments to family (if any), exercise, and sleep.  My writing matters to me.  But my family and my health, I cannot deny it, matter more.  I'm not very creative when sleep-deprived anyway.

Then there's the matter of sitting still.  How do they do it?  If I stay at my desk or computer for more than a half hour at a stretch, I get so stiff I'll probably never move again.  I fidget a lot, and I mix writing with housework to avoid petrification.  That works for me, but probably will never allow for 50,000 words in 30 days.  But who knows.  Maybe another year. . . because an awful lot of this sounds like excuses.  I am growing very suspicious of all the reasons why I can't write more.

Still, I won't be participating in NaNoWriMo this year.  I may make November revise-a-novel-in-one-month time, however (a far more painful project).  I'm on track to finish my first draft within a week or so, and will be working hard to beat it into its final form before the New Year is very old.  Given the impact of the December holiday season on my ability to find time to write, November looks like a good month for rewrites.  I have to be sure to give my readers and editors plenty of time, too.  They'll be working on it at the same time I am, but they have lives too.  Then I have to put it all together.  Writing a draft is only the beginning. 

But it's a darn good beginning.

Maybe next year.

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