Monday, October 31, 2011

Let The Games Begin!

Well, not yet. Not exactly. But they, or rather…it…will in approximately 9 hours.

I’m speaking, of course, about NaNoWriMo, a 30-day writing competition designed to jumpstart your novel and get those juices flowing. With a word count of 50,000 words looming ever closer, the trick is to sit your ass down in front of the computer and bang away; no self-censoring, no editing, no fretting about “getting it right.”

The man who started it, Chris Baty, was making the point -- at least this is what I got out of it -- that too many of us get bogged down in the minutia of a story. For example, what shade of brown someone's hair is rather than letting it just be brown. Or perhaps turning a phrase that rolls off the tongue effortlessly. We can do all those things later, after we've finished the story. If we do it as we go, unless you're a pro and know what you're doing, most of us who are still fairly new to writing and being published, go back the next day to look over what we've written, decide we don’t like this or that, then get caught up in editing instead of moving forward. We wind up losing momentum and, eventually, interest. It's like falling into quick sand.

I first heard about NaNoWriMo about 10 years ago, after picking up a copy of Baty’s “No Plot? No Problem!” I read the book, found it fascinating, then registered the following year since I’d purchased the book towards the end of November. Unfortunately, after registering, I never did anything beyond that. I blew it off. Looking back, I just don’t think I was ready. I didn’t have the discipline, or a structure that would allow me to get into the mind frame of, “Oh! I have an hour. Let’s fire up this puppy and see what I can spit out.”

With three books under my belt, published by Loose Id, and several others that were self-pubbed, there are still dozens upon dozens -- if not hundreds upon hundreds -- of ideas that continue to roll around inside my brain. And they keep on coming, folks!

Add to this the fact that I’m now 49 and, not to be morbid, time is limited. I want to see if I can figure out a way to write faster before my time comes; whenever that may be.

I don’t know if NaNoWriMo will be for me or not. I have work to do, a partner, pets, friends, sisters and family that call every so often. There are several social obligations thrown into the mix, like birthday celebrations and let's not forget Thanksgiving. Not to mention that it would be nice to take a mental break or I might just have a breakdown. All the same, I’ll let you know in 30 or so days if this was such a good idea.

Meanwhile, I’ve played with Scrivener, a software program that seems versatile and flexible. I think it will come in very handy! I’ve also got my synopsis and some hand-written notes; which really should be entered in Scrivener but I’ll give myself some leeway.

So, off I go. For those who are participating in NaNo, good luck. See you on the other side. For those who aren't, don't be surprised if you don't see a post from me in a while. Except for work, my friends, and my partner, I’m pulling a Timothy Leary. I’m going to turn on, tune in, and drop out until just after November 30.

See you in 30 days!


  1. Good luck.....I should do the same!!

  2. @Markito: I don't think it's too late. You can still register and go for it.