Friday, November 5, 2010

NaNo Insanity and More

What, I have to write a blog? Now, in the middle of NaNo? Does this count towards my 50,000?

Yes, like most other writer types you run across, I too have signed up for NaNoWriMo and am right now diligently hunched over my keyboard, creating my great opus.

Why? That's what any sane person would ask. Why do you do that? Signing up for that craziness, in one of the busiest months of the year, why?

I speak for no one else besides myself of course, but I think many of those who do it would align with my thinking. I do it for two reasons.

First is because I'm unpublished. So? Well, unpublished means no deadlines. Unpubbed means no contracts to fill, no words that must be written. Everything I do I do at my leisure. That can be bad.

I'm sure many of the unpubs out there are like me, vacillating between believing we have a real gift and love to tell stories and should have no problem with getting our works published, and believing we are fakes, the business sucks, every time you turn around people are trying to screw over authors in yet another way, so what's the point of it all?

The mood swings are nearly whiplash inducing. Needless to say, add those to the regular demands of life, and writing can easily be placed on the backburner. Belonging to writers groups, I can't tell you the number of times I've heard (and yes, I admit to saying) "This month has been brutal, I haven't been able to get any writing done at all."

NaNo forces writing to come to the forefront, just as it would be if I were a published author. It forces you to sit at the computer no matter your mood, if someone in the house is sick, if it's your week to take care of the in-laws. None of the extras matter, you have to write.

The second reason is I'm curious just what I can do as it concerns writing. For genre writing, and especially for Romance, one book a year is not enough anymore. Editors expect at least two, and hey, three is better.

I'm working towards being a career writer, that's what I want. I want to tell my stories and make a living off of that. I'm not ashamed to admit that, I'm proud of this gift I have, and if I can make a living by bringing people some entertainment, I find that a wonderful calling.

Still, I have to know if I can truly do it or not. I think writing is fun, but even at its most fun, writing is not easy. I need to know if I have it in me that I can create at the speed that is required to make writing a career.

For me, NaNo is a step in finding that out.

So far, so good. It's amazing how quickly the excuse of Writer's Block fades when you are staring at a computer and going, "Doesn't matter, I'm not getting up until another 500 words have been written, so I better think of something."

Is what I'm writing good? Nope, it's first draft. But no less than Hemingway said, "The first draft of anything is sh*t." Do I really think I could do better than Hemingway?

And that in itself is also freeing. Yes, there will be much work to do after NaNo is over, but guess what? I'll have words down on the paper to work with. That wouldn't be true without NaNo.

I wish my fellow NaNoers much luck and writing speed. I wish you all 50,000 words. And when all is said and done, I hope NaNo fulfills whatever expectations you brought to it.


  1. I'm finding a kitchen timer to be a handy NaNo accessory, too. I set it for 15 or 20 minutes and then sprint. No dawdling on Twitter. No obsessively checking my e-mail. Obviously, I work best with a figurative gun to my head! Good luck to everyone in NaNo this year!

  2. I never realize NaNo was soooo big! I'm impressed. How much planning goes into it before it starts?

  3. I'm slogging along meeting the daily counts needed to get me to 50k. I also have a short that has to get out in two weeks, and I am trying to get Blood Judgment ready for another contest...oh and don't forget violin practice time, violin lessons, helping kid with school work, gah! Why do I do this to myself? Still trying to figure that one out.

  4. I blog with another author over on the Revenge and her NaNo writing snagged her an agent...the story she began there did the trick. So...go for it!

    I have a new computer and am going to be looking for an ap of some sort that has a screen timer...must be something out there. I'd love to find an old fashion hour glass that I can set for 30 minutes and then just write until I get there...