Yes – I am taking the plunge. I am even taking the 1st week off work in November in honor of National Novel Writing Month. I went ahead and officially signed up today at the NaNoWriMo website: http://www.nanowrimo.org/.
For those of you who have no idea what I’m going on about, I will share. Especially since I had no clue that this even existed until last November (in the midst of novel writing month), when I stumbled across an announcement at one of my favorite local coffeehouses. I was so sad when I realized just how clueless I was,(well – that happens frequently anyway) and resolved right then to jump in the following year. Yes, I know. I could always just go ahead and write a novel any month out of the year, right? RIGHT?
Sigh. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, and for anyone who’s ever met me, I have this little issue with finishing things I start. OK, a HUGE issue. Nike’s “Just Do It” trademark simultaneously inspires me and pisses me off. I would blame everything on having to go to work everyday – since it would then absolve me of all personal responsibility – but I’ve had long stretches of unemployment in my time to know what a pitiful excuse that would be.
So Chris Baty’s brainchild of NaNoWriMo is a good poke in the butt for me. Plus, I get the added fringe benefit of Chris’ slightly wacko humor, which I can completely relate to. He seems like a good kid. The whole idea of setting a seemingly impossible goal that results in actually finishing something in a short period of time makes perfect sense to me.
Here’s how it works ( my own personal paraphrased version): You sign up on the site (see above link), and set up an account. It’s 100% free, as it is run as a non-profit. Once you’ve signed up, you are now pledging to crack down in the month of November, and write something, anything, that eventually turns into some sort of vague thing resembling a novel by the end of the month. To become fully immersed in Baty’s philosophy, and get some good pointers on accomplishing such a task, check out Baty’s book, “No Plot, No Problem” : http://www.amazon.com/No-Plot-Problem-Low-Stress-High-Velocity/dp/0811845052/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1314577613&sr=1-1
The whole thing boils down to approximately 1,667 words per day, so it’s actually doable. You end up with something to work with, which is all I’m asking for at this point. If I could have a FINISHED rough draft of something, anything, I would be thrilled. Another cool thing that goes along with it is the sense of community; there are groups you can join, discussions and so on. Writing is so solitary, it’s nice to have that camaraderie now and again.
One side note: this is something where you start with basically nothing; just maybe an outline, or character ideas, notes, whatever – but the point is that you start something fresh, not something half-written already. You write said novel in that month. Since I’ve only ever written a very basic outline, and one snippet of dialogue between two characters for my Dystopian novel, “The Wilds People”, I want to use this as my platform to get on with it already.
So, I encourage anyone trying to start, finish, or take a first-time stab at writing to use NaNoWriMo as a challenge. Just do it.