Today is the last day of October, and tomorrow morning marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month. For those who know NaNoWriMo, you’re know what’s going through my mind right now. Anticipation. Excitement. Wonder if I am making a terrible mistake. It’s a major commitment of time, energy and patience–both of you and those who normally count on you paying attention to them in November. But look at this way: It’s ME time. You are doing something for yourself here, and you will be better for it.
The first time I did it was 2008. I started four days after it started, debating up until the very last minute whether I could afford time to participate, as well as debating what I would write. I ended up writing the prescribed 50,000 words in 17 days. Yes, I am OCD. And I learned two things: it was possible for me to write creatively during the school year, and if I gave myself permission, I could write pretty fast.
The key, as I learned from reading at the NaNoWriMo site and from personal experience, is to not self edit. You do that before the month begins, and after you are through. I made some major mistakes in the writing, such as calling a major character Michelle in one chapter, then Melissa in the next. But it’s all good. That’s what editing is for. The book I wrote in 2008 ended up being my steampunk novel Tom Horn vs. The Warlords of Krupp. The book in 2009 was a scifi virus story called The Kiss of Night.
The main thing is to make it fun. Pick a story that’s relatively straightforward. Have fun with your characters and your storyline. Rather than challenging yourself to write The Great American Novel, write stuff that you enjoy writing–and possibly reading. If you are going to invest a month into this project, at least have fun doing it.
I will not be blogging much–I suspect–during the month of November, or at least until I get done. But I will keep you apprised as to how it is going. I hope you join me in this project. Trust me, it can be pretty fun.