or, different is good—right?
As a runner and friend of marathoners, I appreciate the spirit of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month for the unaware. I was thinking about that this morning, actually, as I ran along the harbour, under the sunrise over the sea, in Scotland (yes, that really happened to me today—and about a couple times each week).
Jenna St. Hilaire, a loyal NaNoWriMer, made the observation yesterday that ‘there’s a real value in the simple act of challenging yourself.’ The self-discipline and resulting reward of writing a 50,000-word novel in a month, from scratch, is well worth the sweat and the clenching neck muscles and the rhythmic muttering ‘i-HATE-mylife, i-HATE-mylife,’ which, coincidentally, is the exact same reason most people I know run marathons—with a few mad exceptions who like running marathons, and who can be likened to Real Authors.
I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year. Because challenging myself to push my limits and do break out of the comfortable and feel exhilarated afterwards is why I run. Not why I write.
When you’re not just procrastinating on writing for nanaowrimo, but procrastinating by writing about nanowrimo, and then procrastinating on that–you know you’ve got something bad.
The novelist is a mad animal, however we care to look at it. Stare at a screen, or a blank page if you’re progressive, scribble and type and hem and curse and type some more. Agonize because you don’t know what imaginary people are going to do fifty pages later. Swear a bit more, stare out the window, scribble something that sounds nothing like what you intended.
Repeat until you’ve got a book full of scribbles. Or a doc full of types, if you’re retro.
Isn’t this fun?
My notes for today’s post look a bit terrible. The blogger, apparently, is a bit of mad animal too. Or at least uninspired.
I have a reference to discussing ‘lessons learned’ and musing on ‘where to go from here’. Meaning of course, the last day of the 2009 Nanowrimo experience. Novelists may write in other months, but November alone is the National Novel Writing Month.
No, I don’t think I won nanowrimo. It’s not midnight yet, of course, but here’s the stats for your own judgment:
Nanowrimo. It purrs off the tongue with deceptive innocence, a catchphrase we can bandy lightlyat any passing non-initiate. We write for nanowrimo. We create words for nanowrimo. We are nanowrimers.
The reality keeps us awake and sobbing late into the night. So cool.
There’s a writing assignment for you in a bit, lest you think I’ve lost my anchor to reality. (Not sure how that’s supposed to reassure you…) Continue reading
Word Count: (In my defense, I cut out a whole chapter.)
This is said to symbolise modern Europe. It also symbolises my manuscrpt.
There’s an odd, two-in-the-morning sensation when one has been fighting prosthetic monsters and awakes quietly in bed. It’s the sensation that finds nothing odd in seeing the floating cupboard above the wardrobe which wasn’t there before. It inspires one to address the cupboard with inspiring words: “I don’t care what you look like! You shut up!”
Another moment brings clarity. And a horrible, sickening dread that I had been very, very silly.
I’d decided to accept the nanowrimo challenge. Why, exactly? Had I, all unknowing, defaced my sanity in a wild obsession with sound and fury?
The immediate answer resounded yes. But only because I’d decided to write in the first place. Nanowrimo was another question entirely. And the matter seemed less clear.