If I appear to drop off the grid during November, it’s because I’ll be busy writing a novella.
I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – during which novelists write 50,000 words in one month) and you can follow my progress, or maybe lack thereof, on the sidebar of this page where you will see my total word count.
Writing 50,000 words in one month breaks down to 1,667 words per day. The daily word count doesn’t scare me. What scares me is not having the plot line come together well enough to write 1,667 words per day.
I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo twice in the past and failed miserably – partially because I did not plan my plot or characters well enough and partially because I have a difficult time turning my internal editor off.
I don’t follow the standard writing advice that says to just crank out a first draft as quickly as possible and then go back and revise it. Whether I’m writing a book, a newspaper article or a blog post, I edit as I write, so by the time I finish my first draft, it’s probably a third or fourth draft. It works for me, and I learned long ago that you have to go with what works.
But for this book, I’m going to turn off my internal editor and see what happens. If it doesn’t work, I may end up only writing 25,000 words. That wouldn’t be the end of the world, especially given that I’ll be writing a novella. Either way, it’ll feel great to write fiction again. I’ve put it off for far too long.
One of the fun aspects of NaNoWriMo is the built-in community that is available both on and offline. In addition to online forums where writers can gather for support, the website lists various places to gather in your local community for “write-ins.”
Tonight, NaNoWriMo participants in my city will gather in a reserved room at Perkins for a write-in to socialize and then, at midnight, to stop the socializing so they can write. I imagine some will crank out two or three thousand words, which will give them a great head start. I’m contemplating attending this event. I’d love to wake up Saturday morning and know I’ve already written my 1,667 words.
If you are participating in NaNoWriMo this year, friend me on the official website and we’ll encourage each other throughout the month. If you are not, then please excuse me if I’m even slower than normal at returning email, phone calls, texts, etc.
Lee Warren is a freelance writer and editor who has written twelve non-fiction books, one novella and hundreds of articles for various newspapers and magazines as well as edited more than 50 books that currently appear in print. He's a fan of NASCAR, baseball, tennis, books, movies and coffee shops.