November is rapidly approaching, and I’m starting to get lots of e-mails from the folks over at NaNoWriMo. For those of you unfamiliar with NaNo, it’s short form NaNoWriMo, which in turn is short for National Novel Writing Month. The NaNoWriMo folks have claimed November as theirs, and invited the whole wold to join them. Last year I accepted that invitation, and I wrote the manuscript of a young adult novel. In a month. Yes. I did it.
That manuscript is still very raw, in fact I haven’t done much of anything with it. I know so much more about writing now than I did a year ago, and what I’ve learned has left me feeling somewhat overwhelmed at the prospect of all the revisions that lay ahead. Gulp. But does that mean I can’t write something new? Of course not!
Completing NaNoWriMo was a huge accomplishment. It showed me that I did in fact have at least one book in me, and that I could find the time to create it. It also showed me that even when I was feeling stuck, I could make myself move forward. It was an important lesson. Of course it wasn’t without its freak-outs along the way.
Another lesson that it taught me was that I spend too much time on activities that give me nothing in return. I think many of us do. My main time sucker (and maybe yours too) tends to be surfing the internet. Watching tv is a big one for a lot of people too. Still, no matter how busy I felt, I was always able to at least put in at least twenty to thirty minutes on work days, then fill in with some extra time on the weekends. I knew that skipping days would stress me out too much in the long run, so I avoided it at all costs.
So now here I am, Mid-October, and decision time is looming. Yes, I think I’ll try it again, and this time I’ll incorporate some of the information on story structure that I’ve learned over the past several months. I have a new character that I need to get to know, and I need to create some really interesting things for her to do and say. I also need to stock up on Hot Tamales, they are my go to candy for writing inspiration and energy.
Hopefully this year’s 50,000 plus words come more easily than last year’s, but I’m not counting on it. Writing a novel is a really difficult process, but by announcing it, I’ve just taken the first step. Wish me luck!