For many folk, November means time to dust off the holiday decorations, plan elaborate meals with family, and search their closet for the pants with elastic waistbands. But for authors, November means National Write a Novel in a Month, which in the beginning was called NaNo.
Yes. I am serious. Write a novel … in thirty days.
It is world-wide knowledge that those who assemble words are different than workers with regular working hours. Authors are cut from cloth most people wouldn’t wear on a double-dare. We write thoughts on napkins, on our hands, on our jeans. We interrupt people to send ourselves messages. We have sticky notes and notebooks filled with thoughts that –at the time they were written- were pure genius. Some of us drink, a lot. Some smoke, a lot. Some cuss, a lot. Some write at night, or at three am. We are non-conformists; 9 to 5 doesn’t work for us, although we would love for readers to buy our books so we could, at least, enjoy a nice dinner every once and a while. We tell ourselves that we write for our readers, but we authors are also known for fibbing. It is called fiction.
That is why when November rolls around NaNoWriMo writers lose their ever-lovin’ minds and commit to writing not only a novel in thirty days, but a novel that consists of 50,000 words. Or as my critique group leader optimistically wrote, “Renea, that’s only 1,667 words a day.”
Pass the Tylenol; my head already hurts.
So yesterday on NaNo eve, I thought I would do a bit of office purging. The ability to see wood grain on my desk does inspire me to at least think about writing. The rest of the day I flipped back and forth from Facebook, to email, to Twitter, reading all the NaNoWriMo chatter.
This year I thought I would give the buddy system a go. In the past I’ve had a canine assistant, but she isn’t much on encouragement other than the occasional tail thump. For participants needing human interaction, create an account on the NaNoWriMo website then pick buddies that will help you during this crazy- time. For newbies please know that the purpose of NaNoWriMo isn’t to talk about your novel, November is time to put fingers to keys. Come December first you will NOT have a finished manuscript. And, for the love of humanity, please do not think your finished product is ready for publication on December first. What you will have, should you place 50,000 words in your computer’s memory, is the satisfaction that you accomplished your goal. Publication comes later; much, much later.
Some hard-core veterans began outlining their work early. Those authors will go off the grid in November. You won’t find them wasting time on Facebook, or Tweeting anything other than their incredible word count. The procrastinator in me hates those writers. They’ve been tweeting for days about their outline all why my heart beats fast in my chest.
I can’t outline; it cramps my style. I’d much rather spend NaNo eve thinking about all Halloween candy I’m going to steal from my daughter. And November is the worst possible time to embark on 50,000 words. Why not January? In January, we’re avoiding the holiday bills and would rather do anything than exercise those holiday meals off our frame. And, in January we have thirty one days.
Trust me. Authors need every day they can get.
Still, as my critique partner cheerfully asked me to join her on this journey I remember the thought, the whisper, the idea of my first novel. As I unwrap a piece of Halloween candy I ponder that perhaps November is the best time to write. I’ve got enough candy to keep me hopped up on sugar for at least fourteen days. Now all I need is the muse and I’m good to go.