Many years ago (I have lost track now), I discovered Nanowrimo – a crazy, wonderful event which challenges writers to write a complete novel (50,000 words) over the course of the 30 days in November. I participated in several Nanowrimos, completing four of them. Those drafts of novels remain collecting dust in my files because, quite honestly, I have no idea how to even begin the editing process. BUT, I learned something about writing by joining thousands of people in this venture:
- Writing straight through a first draft without the editor screaming on your shoulder is a very freeing way to write.
- Being involved with a group of people all working toward the same goal is incredibly satisfying and motivating.
- A first draft is just that – it is not a completed novel (not even close).
- I do have a novel (or two or three or four) inside of me.
I haven’t participated in Nanowrimo for at least five years (maybe longer). I got involved in reviewing books and pretty much stopped writing fiction to focus on non-fiction writing. But, that does not mean that the voices in my head have ceased. Lately, I have been haunted by two characters. They really want their story told. And so, I have decided to take the leap of faith required to join Nanowrimo this year. I have decided to feed my creative self a little bit. I’ve missed writing fiction – it used to be a daily exercise for me. I have no idea if I will actually manage to write 50,000 words in 30 days, but I am going to try. My fingers are itching to write. My characters are speaking to me. The plot, although tenuous, is there.
Please don’t ask me what my novel will be about – I have never, ever, ever been able to articulate a work of fiction before I write it. I usually know the characters very well, and I let them tell the story – and sometimes it turns out very differently than I had thought when I began. If I manage to write anything worth sharing, I promise, I’ll give you a glimpse. In the meantime, I will mostly share with you the process.
What this means for my blog in November:
- I will still be reading and reviewing books, but maybe at a slower pace.
- I will be giving you periodic updates on my Nanowrimo experience.
- I will not be accepting review books in November (and if any come in, they most likely will not get read and reviewed until 2012).
- I will most likely be slow about responding to comments and commenting on other people’s blogs.
What about you? Have you ever participated in this insanity? If so, what have you learned (if anything) about writing? I
If you are participating this year, please let me know! My user name on the site is (of course) Caribousmom. It looks like they are still working on setting up the Writing Buddies page, but I hope to connect with other writers so we can cheer each other on.