You might have noticed that after releasing my two books, I hit a big slump. I had several ideas of what I’d like to work on next, but I couldn’t quite get started on anything. Plus, October has been an intense month for me, full of traveling, friends visiting, the big Halloween bash, and the corresponding crash after all that. I needed something to get myself back on track, so I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. That is, National Novel Writing Month.
I like to imagine this is sortof how I look while writing: all dainty, peaceful and softly focused on the task at hand. (Also, doesn’t she look a lot like Drew Barrymore? Weird.)
In reality, it’s probably not so pretty. I sit at the coffee shop and stare at my laptop like I’m negotiating a divorce settlement with it, occasionally pausing to rub my face and eyes with open palms as though I should be muttering, “I wish we’d never met.” However, as pained as my writing face may look to the casual observer, the practice of putting words on a page remains the most satisfying thing in the world to me.
Today being November 1st, it’s the first day of NaNoWriMo. So far, I’ve written 1,651 words of my 50,000 word goal. I’m hoping to have another cup of coffee soon and do another round. I’d like to get ahead of the game early in case I have slow days later.
Although I recently released my first book, Dirty Water Coffee, and published a second little volume, At Risk, only a couple weeks later, I’m one of these compulsive people who need to be working on something and find it hard to cope with life between projects. I normally have a strict “no talking about the new project” policy, but I’m telling you this now because they say NaNo is a good thing to tell people about. I’ll be attempting to write around 2,000 words per day, but in week two or three when I don’t feel like writing and can’t quite dig my way out of the plot hole I’ve created, I’m going to need your support.
I’m trying to write fiction. I’ve tried writing short stories plenty of times, but the trouble was that I never really had a story I wanted to tell. I just wanted to experiment with fiction for its own sake. As a result, I wound up with some pretty passages of description, very little plot, and completely stilted dialog. So, when I signed up for the NaNo site, I marked myself as a “rebel,” meaning I would be writing something other than the strictly defined novel. At one point, I planned to write a series of travel essays, which I had already started, but that would be too easy. I can easily write one essay per day if I have a plan, and NaNo is supposed to be a challenge. Plus, I had this other story I wanted to try and tell, and I wasn’t sure if I could do it or if I could even bring myself to write fiction. So I decided to try. NaNo is only one month, which is really not too long to try and work on something new and scary. If it works, awesome. If it doesn’t, then I still have all the time in the world to write those things I already know how to do.
I am telling myself right now that I can afford to write this badly because I’m going to hand the whole mess over to an editor the moment it’s done. And I’m assuming it will indeed be completed at some point. I’ll do my best to update here regarding how much I’ve written each day. I’m still too shy to talk much about the story itself and how it’s evolving, but perhaps as I get comfortable with it, I’ll be able to share more, so keep an eye here for more updates soon, as well as my true feelings about NaNoWriMo, as I’m sure they too will evolve in some artfully complicated fashion. And maybe if you’re lucky or I encounter some severe blogger’s block, I will also post some photos from our Halloween party and other misadventures which are sure to come.