Thursday, October 31, 2013

So, NaNoWriMo is a thing...

I've been aware of the even of National Novel-Writing Month for a while now. It's always struck me as somewhat amusing, but I've never participated. Until now. It's with equal measures of apprehension and trepidation (yeah, I know) that I bit the bullet and created myself an account there. My username is jblaschke for those of you out there interested in such things.

In the past, I've not participated in NaNoWriMo for several reasons: 1) I usually had another project in the works and 2) I'm not a fast writer. Seriously. No way I could write a novel in a month, so why bother? I had a gut feeling that the emphasis of quantity over quality was missing the point somehow. I still do, to a certain extent. But there are some very specific reasons why I'm choosing to throw my hat into the ring this time around.

First and foremost is this post. Check out the date: 2005. I've been researching this book, in some form or another, for the better part of a decade. And it's no closer to being written now than it was back then. That is utterly and completely unacceptable. The procrastination ends now.

The next reasons are my children: Monkey Girl prods me every so often, as does Fairy Girl, reminding me that I've long promised to write something for them to read and enjoy... preferably before she graduates high school. And she's a freshman this year. She's also done NaNoWriMo these past two years, and has unsubtly hinted that I should join up and compete with her for daily wordcounts.

Finally, this baptism of fire that NaNoWriMo offers will serve as a sharp break from the whole Chicken Ranch book. I finished that book more than a year ago, but revisions, new interviews, agent hunting and the like have conspired to keep me mired in the project and the mindset that goes with it. Whilst writing fiction and non-fiction do indeed use the same set of writing tools an author develops over the course of a career, they use entirely different sets of writing muscles, if that makes any sense. My fiction muscles have atrophied a great deal. I've tried to limber them up by working on a couple of incomplete short stories, and while that helped some, more short fiction isn't going to jump-start my career at this point. To a great extent, short fiction has become an avoidance strategy keeping me from the (intimidating) commitment novels demand.

So, in that context, I'm using NaNoWriMo as leverage to jump-start Sailing Venus. I have no intent to produce 50,000 words by the end of the month. I don't think that's a remotely attainable goal for me. But I am setting myself a goal of 30,000 words. That's right at four pages a day--some days I'll write more, others, none at all (I'm cognizant of the demands on my life). Producing 30,000 words is reasonable, but by no means easy. Or a given. Even getting close to that mark will put me about a third of the way through the novel, which is a win any way you look at it.

I'll be sharing more thoughts about this process, which will be substantially different from any other writing project I've undertaken in the past. Stay tuned.

Now Playing: Boiled in Lead Old Lead
Chicken Ranch Central

1 comment:

  1. One of us! One of us! *G* I'm really hoping the FB group does some good for us all this year!