Thursday, October 31, 2013

Here Goes Nothing...

For most children (and some adults) October 31st is greatly anticipated because of Halloween:  the opportunity to dress up and play pretend while gorging on lots of free candy.  For a few literary folks, however, October 31st is significant because it is the Eve of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) when passionate (crazy?) authors commit to writing 50,000 words in 30 days.  I, along with nearly 200,000 other writers have committed to this lofty goal.

Do I expect to have a well-crafted publishable novel by the end of the month?  Hardly.  I expect to have a mess… but I also expect that somewhere in that mess is a nugget of story that can be mined, shaped, and crafted into a decent narrative, if I am willing to do the work of several revisions.

The goal of this sprint writing, for me anyway, is not to have a polished novel, but rather to stop procrastinating and just get the story down.  I have been mulling and researching and developing this idea for nearly four years and the time is right.  In fact, it is my secret desire to just put nose to grindstone, start writing tomorrow and hit the 50,000 word goal by November 22…. but I won't say that too loud so as not to set myself up for failure.

The advantage to writing at this breakneck speed is that there is no time to stop and review --- I just need to plow ahead and keep writing, no matter what.  There is no time to allow the inner critic to voice his negative commentary, nor to let the editor stop and agonize over the proper word choice or correct punctuation.  I will be required to remain in that unfamiliar "right brain" territory - the land of the creative, and not retreat into my comfortable "left brain" territory - the land of detailed analysis.  There will be plenty of time for that after December.

Do I fear failure?  Well, I suppose it depends on what you consider failure.  Do I fear that I won't complete the goal?  Yes.  I have actually attempted NaNoWriMo three other times, but only successfully completed the challenge the first year (and even then, I never finished the story, just the word count).  But I know that whatever I write this month will be more than I would have written if I didn't try… and that is not failure - that is progress.

So… here goes nothing.. and I am very excited!