Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wednesday's Words for November 4, 2009

It’s that time of year again. The leaves have all turned color, many of them have tumbled to the ground, there’s a nip in the air, and the sun goes down earlier and earlier each night thanks to our having gained back the hour we lost in the spring. All these signs can mean but one thing: it’s time for NaNoWriMo once more!

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNo as it is more affectionately called, is that annual endeavour wherein tried and true novelists—and would-be novelists—sign up for the privilege of attempting to write a 50,000 word novel from November 1 to November 30th.

Today is November 4th and yes, you can still sign up for this year’s event, you’ll just have to write like mad for the first few days. If any of you are into the math—and I know at least one of my dear friends and regular readers is, God bless her logistics-loving heart—you’ll know that you need to write an average of 1,667 words a day to make the quota of 50K words in 30 days.

I first participated in NaNo in 2005, before I was a published author. I had been working on my first erotic romance at the time, and had yet to find the “heart’ of the story, so it was slow going. I was in that time and place all of us who are now published have been, that place where we honestly wonder: am I ever going to be able to do this thing?

My friend Raina James first invited me to NaNo, followed by Kelley Armstrong. Kelley thought our joining the challenge would be a good inspiration for the writing group we helped lead, whose home is on her discussion board.

The motivation, for me, was to just have fun. To simply write something for the fun of it. And I knew almost immediately what I was going to write. Years before I’d penned (literally, penned) a very short story I called “Once Upon A Time”. It was a Cinderella story about a middle aged woman who with the help of two fairy godmothers wins a trip and meets a king who is vacationing incognito…sound familiar?

Never dreaming this NaNo novel would one day actually become a published trilogy called Magic And Love, I began on November 1st, 2005, with no real outline, just a bare, decade-old short story as a skeleton.

Something truly magical happened for me that November. As I began to write, the story came alive for me. The sentences tripped over each other, racing from my brain down to my fingers and out onto the keyboard. I wrote, and I wrote, and I wrote some more. My beloved didn’t complain about slapped together meals or an untidy house. The words kept coming, and it was all I could do to keep up.

They came so fast, in fact, that my friend Kelley felt it necessary to remind me that it was National Novel writing month, and not National Novel Writing week.
“Once Upon A Time” went from a sophomoric (at best) 2000 word short story to a 54,000 word novel in just 14 days.

I have never written so well, or so fast, since.

But I did it. I’d set a goal, I’d achieved it, and I’d done something more. I’d proved to myself that I really was a writer, and that I could do whatever it was I’d set out to do, if I wanted it badly enough, and if I just stopped thinking about it and got down to business. As my oldest son, also an author, is fond of saying, writing is just one damn sentence after another.

Nothing that I have ever experienced can match the sense of satisfaction to be gained from setting a goal and achieving it. Be it NaNo or a marathon, the victory comes with meeting the challenge you have given yourself.

If you’re feeling down, or tired, or just plain blah, why not challenge yourself to do something different, something extra?

There’s no better way I know to stay young.

By the way, if you do decide to participate in NaNo, and you are already a published author, why not make a small donation? Even ten dollars goes a long way in underwriting the wonderful work done by the Office of Letters and Light!

Satisfy your Cowboy Cravings
My NaNo Id (princess) link :

1 comment:

Missy Lyons said...

I think any writer can learn a lot from nano. It is much easier to revise words on a page than an empty page.