For most people, November brings to mind images of family time, a chill in the air, football, and turkey. I have recently discovered that for the writing community, November means National Novel Writing Month: a totally insane writing frenzy during which both first-time and experienced authors take the plunge and attempt to write a novel (or 50,000 words of one, which really isn’t enough words for anything but a children’s novel) in one month. It’s exhilarating, scary, and exhausting…or so I hear. Although I had heard of NaNo before, I had not participated because honestly, it was too scary. But then last month, the writer’s chat that I have recently joined picked NaNo for a topic, and I was intrigued. Then I was excited. Then I was terrified. Then I was hooked.
I have been writing for years – mostly in secret, because apparently writing is not something that rational people do for a living – but I have never finished a novel. It’s sad but true. Recently I’ve realized that starting in on a story, then setting it aside for a year or two, then coming back to it and deciding I have to rewrite it before I can continue, then setting it aside again, then starting back and rewriting it again was really not getting me anywhere. I got over that and decided to start a different story. Now I’m 30,000 words into it, which is more words than I’ve ever written in a single story before. So here’s my confession: instead of starting again with a totally new story, like you’re supposed to do in NaNo, I’m going to start from where I am in my story and finish it. 80,000 words should do nicely. When I first started thinking about doing NaNo, I was going to follow the rules and start fresh. But I like this story, and I really just want to finish one before I start on something new. I think in some ways it will make the challenge of writing 50,000 words in a month more difficult, because I’m already dealing with some plot hang-ups and wondering just exactly where I’m going to go from here. Still, 50,000 new words is 50,000 new words, and that’s what I’m going to do. I wrote 1,000 this morning. Only 49,000 more to go. Wish me luck!