THE THIRTY DAY CHALLENGE
This November, like every November, is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, during which thousands of writers across the globe take on the challenge of writing a novel (well, 50,000 words of a new work of fiction). I only learned about NaNoWriMo this year, so I’ve never done it. When I first considered doing it, my thought was…. I have to take oral exams. I’m looking for jobs. My life is kind of unsettled right now and I don’t know I have time to do this.
Well, today I realized that there will never be a good year to undertake NaNoWriMo. I have to imagine it’s kind of like having a baby, in that if you wait for the perfect moment, the perfect setup, you’re going to be waiting pretty much forever. So I’m going to do it. I think I’m going to suck it up, move up the release of “The Magic Council” to October to clear writing obligations on my calendar for November, and attempt to write a NaNoWriMo novel. (Plus, being Catholic, I have the upside of November 1st being a Holy Day of Obligation. It’s All Saints Day, so I have to go to Church. Seems like a decent way to start such a mammoth undertaking…. 50k/30=1667 words a DAY in November. That requires a lot of consistency over a long period of time, and such dedication is tough when you have other things going on in life…. which, of course, we all do.
AN OUTLINE? WHAT’S THAT?
One of the reasons I’m excited at the prospect of NaNoWriMo is that I can’t see myself succeeding without having a very clear idea of what I need to write and where my story is going. I’ve been saying I’d like to work with some kind of an outline for my next novel, because I never have done that and I think I’d benefit from trying an outline out. Well, the challenge of 50k words in a month will hold me to developing an outline ahead of time. I have a full month to get my ideas together, figure out who my supporting cast of characters will be, and plot, plot, plot before November comes, when it’s time to write, write, write. This is the strategy I have seen proposed on various blogs by various writers who have succeed at the NaNoWriMo challenge, so I think I’ll follow their example.
Something that’s fun to consider is that this will be the first novel I’ve written in YEARS that’s not a part of my Herezoth trilogy. Which means, even if it takes place in Herezoth, I won’t be dealing with familiar, comfortable characters. That’s exciting and scary, because I don’t know how used I’ve gotten to that advantage; it really is an advantage in my mind, when you go to start a novel, to already have at least one full novel behind you that’s dealt with the same people. So, we will see how this goes! It’s possible I”ll change my mind before November even starts and not participate in NaNoWriMo, but I’m hoping that writing this post will force my hand and bring me to do it. I’m way too prone to doubting myself and changing my mind about things and then changing it back. This is an exercise in perseverance, determination, and decision-making. So let’s do it! NOVEMBER=50,000 words.
Has anyone done NaNoWriMo? Anyone else planning to do it for the first time this year? Please let me know! I’d love advice, and/or someone to push me to stay on track during November, whom I could also hold accountable.