Sunday, October 22, 2006


Two years in a row, I have passed on National Novel Writing Month, but this year, I'm giving it a whirl. For those of you who don't know, this program challenges you to write 50,000 words in 30 days, cranking out the first draft of a novel in just one month. The emphasis here is on quantity, not quality, pushing the story forward without editing or revising. Avoiding the perpetual rewrite has never been a problem for me, but writing about 1,700 words a day, every day, is no easy feat. Although this seems challenging enough, I am going to take it a step further and attempt to complete a full novel, closer to 85,000 words, in the same time frame. So friends, family, may not be coming out of my apartment very often. Get your drinks in before November 1st.

I think what made me finally commit to doing it this year is a new novel idea. I know, I know, I'm supposed to be working on the sequel to Thou Shall Not, but this story has been lurking within me for a while and needs to get out. I cannot justify putting my current project aside and dedicating my days to my whim of an idea, but it's easy to tell myself, "You're just taking a month off. And after that, you'll have another novel under your belt." When you're not on contract with a publisher, it's easier to ignore your self-inflicted deadlines. It's easier to play with ideas, spent weeks researching and brainstorming, going out for drinks with friends, and all the other distractions that prevent us from finishing projects. Not only is NaNoWriMo giving me a deadline, it's giving me an insane deadline, and that competitor in me is excited to rise to the challenge.

I encourage anyone, not just writers, to give this a try. How many times have you told people, "I have an idea for a novel" or "I want to write a book someday"? Well someday is November 1st, and by Thanksgiving, you can tell your family that you are currently finishing up your first novel.

1 comment:

Darwyn Jones said...

I did not know that. When did you make the decision to jump on the NaNoWriMo train? I signed up for the thing one year - and that is literally all that became of it. If you get cabin fever, I'll meet you at the coffee shop, lips locked and key thrown away, laptop in hand... well, in lap.
Here's a row of martinis to you.