Have you noticed that the world is full of fun things to do?
One of them is writing. Yeah, yeah, I know.
1. It’s hard to find the time.
2. Blank pages (or screens) are terrifying.
3. Trying to express your excellent ideas can be frustrating. What you write never turns out as fabulous as what you imagined.
4. It’s lonely.
Okay. I’ll give you the first 3.
As for number 4, what if I told you that you didn’t have to go it alone?
A few years back, my friend Cheryl’s husband mentioned that she couldn’t hang out with us because she was writing a novel. She was not taking on any social obligations for the month of November! I thought it very noble of her, sacrificing herself for her art like that. I was filled with admiration. However, even though I’d also written a fair amount of fiction in the past, I didn’t see myself doing what she’d signed up for. Write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days? What a recipe for disaster! I might be able to key 50,000 words into a Word document. There were no guarantees that it would end up being a novel.
But the idea stuck with me. Then, as November of 2010 approached, I found myself checking out the National Novel Writing Month web site. I checked some of their recommended books out of the library. I read inspirational pep talks from previous years. I discovered that writing a novel in November really means writing a horrible first draft. Heck, anyone can do that just as soon as they bind and gag their inner editor and stick her in the basement, with promises to let her out by Christmas. I saw that my friend Cheryl could be my online buddy through the ordeal. (Cheryl’s NaNoWriMo handle is CeeCeeMee, if you want her to be your writing buddy, too.) So I signed up.
One issue: Cheryl lives in Indiana. There was no way she could physically hold my hand. So I began searching for support closer to home.
I also began to hang out with my local NaNo region, whose site is here. They have become my peeps. I promise more about them in future posts.
With all of us cheering each other on, a bunch of us won, and I was one of the proud victors. I have participated in NaNo ever since.
Did I write deathless prose in November of 2010? Or in November of 2011 or 2012, for that matter? No freaking way. But I got at least 50,000 words each of those years. Here comes the disclaimer: even though what I wrote in 2012 is a steaming pile of you-know-what, I feel like, given a healthy pruning and with some missing parts filled in, it could amount to something some day. I will keep you posted on that front.
In the meantime, if you’ve ever wanted to write a novel someday, this could be your year. Seriously.
And if you want me for a NaNoWriMo writing buddy, my handle on the site is Cee-Bee.