It’s starting to look like next month, I won’t be writing in this journal as much as usual. Why? NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month.
I signed up yesterday. In short, I’m going to be attempting to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days (and still retain some sanity at the end).
Why am I doing this? Because writing has always been one of the most important things in my life. I don’t just like writing, I need to write, and not just journal entries. I’ve been starting and then abandoning writing projects for years, from short stories to novels to poems, and I rarely finish anything — I get started and then I lose interest, get distracted by something else, or my inner critic speaks up and tells me it’s all stupid so I just give up.
I have finished a few short stories and a good number of poems now, and I did get my pet novel about halfway finished before I started changing it around so much that I couldn’t write it anymore. Now I can’t even start it again because as soon as I begin putting words to paper I start judging them and changing my mind again.
I think with a deadline, I can tell my inner critic to shut up for a month and just write. I may write crap and never do anything with this novel once I’m finished with it, but I’ll be doing something at least. It’ll be a learning experience and then at the end I can finally tell people, “You know how I’ve been saying for years that I’m going to write a novel? Well, I finished one.” Bragging rights, you could say, and proving to everyone that yes, I am a writer. Showing myself, even, that I can do this.
At the end, I can always go back and revise it, or reuse some of my ideas in later stories. I just think it’s time that I stopped talking and planning and thinking about it and actually did something.
My goal is going to be 2,000 words a day, which if I stick to that, then I’ll get done in 25 days. Five extra days means I can go over 50,000 words, or have a little leeway if I get behind due to circumstances beyond my control, or take a day off somewhere, or even just finish early. With 2,000 words a day into a novel, though, I’m not going to have much energy to write additional stuff in this journal most likely. At the least, I’m going to set a rule for myself that I can’t write a journal entry until I’ve fulfilled that day’s quota of work on the novel.
We’ll see how I end up handling updates for November once I get started and actually realize just how much work this is going to be. Keep an eye out for more information coming soon. I think I might be starting a blog as a separate place to babble incoherently about the novel and try to keep this journal more comprehensible than just “Woo-hoo! I made 35,000 words today! . . . Except my main character shot herself so it’s going to be hard to continue on for the next 15,000 words.”
For the rest of October, though, I should stay on the regular update schedule of an entry every day or two.