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.
Well, best of luck! Hope you get lots of words written. I’m not doing it, as you know. Too much pressure. Plus, I’ve got a writing schedule that, while imperfect, works for me. Progress is being made.
Thanks, FH! And I never said it was healthy — clearly you don’t need the gun pointed at your head. I’ve always been impressed by your steady output. The discipline I built up last November by writing every day was gone by the second week of December.
It’s really hard to find that time with job and family responsibilities. I am lucky to have a lunch hour that I can mostly use as I wish. So, I write then. I can’t ever get much done at home. People are always in my face and in my space.