I love National Novel Writing Month. In the abstract, the idea is wonderful: more than 100,000 people signing up for 30 days of unembarrassed semi-public creativity. At the personal level, this is exactly what an (ahem) unfocused person like me needs: a hard deadline, with accountability. Last year, I played to win and I got there, finishing November 30 with 51,324 words of Breezeway Blows Town under my belt (that title has to go, by the way — it was the working title for the novel I outlined before NaNo started, not the novel I actually wrote). Since then, I’ve written approximately 16,000 words more.
Let me say that again: in November, 2009, I wrote 51,000+ words in the novel, and in the 11 months since then, I wrote 16,000. My average monthly word count since December 1, 2009 has been less than my average daily word count for the 30 days before.
I know what you’re thinking: the boy needs a deadline. Well, duh. I didn’t pick the name of this blog at random, you know.
As I’ve mentioned, this has been an … interesting year, but I haven’t been ready to post about that, which is why I’ve been updating so infrequently. The easy explanation is that I’m getting slammed at work, which is both true and incomplete. I am, however, ready to start writing again, and I recognize that I need a deadline and the competitive spirit (I’m looking at you, Chad and John — both of whom, I note, finished their NaNo novels; John is podcasting Enemy Lines now, and it’s fantastic) to get me back into the habit of lying on paper every day (insert lawyer joke here). So here it is: I’m back at the NaNo site, user no. 261488, and I’ll be updating my word count all through November. I will not be starting a new project, and will not attempt anything close to 50,000 words. If I get 10,000 words farther into Breezeway by Nov. 30, I will do the two-finger victory dance and award myself a bonus 300XP on Epic Win. My only goal is to finish the damn first draft by year-end, and I have at least 25,000 words to go — in plot outline terms, I’ve only just started act 3.
If we were writing buddies last year, it looks like the site kept that connection; if not, feel free to add me to your buddy list, and I’ll add you back. See you November 1. Until then, have a happy Hallowe’en, or as some of us call it, All Nanos Eve.