Are You Up for a November Writing Challenge?
Posted on October 12, 2012
Okay, so things over here at the “lodge” are at an interesting place. Basically, I’m in limbo. My non-fiction book (that I like to think of as a researchy-memoir) is out with my agent and making the rounds with publishers in New York city. Now, I don’t like this part. I’ve been through it 1.5 times before. The first time – it almost sold. I learned something there. You know what is more painful than a rejection? That’s right – an almost sold. A “we really liked it, but…” A “she’s so funny, but…” That SUCKS. Caps-lock intended. So, I’m not going to sit around and wait. I’ve got something else in mind.
Let’s talk some backstory. The transformation that I’ve made -personally- over the last year is a drastic one. I went from a person that “produced” (…often I produced other people’s work – gave them stage time, a place to showcase their writing, etc.) to “one who creates.” I think this is a radical change for me. It puts the onus of creative responsibility squarely on my own shoulders. What I produce succeeds only if I succeed. What I produce fails, if MY idea fails.
This has been an important and ultimately satisfying switch, mainly, because I want to write and I want to write extremely well.
There’s a caveat to writing well though that no one wants to admit. When you want to write extremely well, you have to write a volume of ABSOLUTE SHIT first. I think you can’t get to the “extremely well” without the absolute shit part. Now, a lot of you may think, but what about all of those writing prodigies? Those people who wrote masterpieces in their 20s. I say they had volumes of absolute shit, you just never saw it. They just wrote it in their teen years, perhaps, but, they wrote it. You can’t get to the good without the bad. That’s just my belief system. But, hey, it’s not just mine…
With all of that said, I tend to write non-fiction fairly well. I think that is because I’ve had years, literally, almost two decades, of writing mainly about my self. It may have been in joke form for stand up, it may have been in another style, but regardless that’s a lot of practice. What I do NOT have a practiced hand in is at writing fiction – you know – making a story up from beginning to end. There, I am an absolute neophyte, which is why most of the writing in that vein is absolute shit. But, there is a passion in me to conquer it. So, conquer it, I will.
And that brings me to the challenge at hand…
Whenever I am waiting on something that I want, the best way to get over the panic in the waiting is to – START SOMETHING BRAND NEW.
My biggest struggle is fiction. So, why not start there.
Last year, when I wrote my fiction book, I slammed out 70k words. Then I re-read them for the umpteenth time and threw them into the fire. But, while I was doing all of that I thought, “I should do that NaNoWriMo thing.”
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.
It takes place over the course of November. The stipulations are simple.
You write, everyday, passionately, and without fail. The goal is 50,000 words in one month.
You do not edit. The idea as NaNoWriMo puts it, “is an experiment in pure output.”
That’s 1600 words (approx) per day for 31 days.
I’m going to give it a shot, BUT I’m going to go one step further.
I’m going to actually plan for it.
I’m going to build out a story beforehand, much like you would draw up plans for a house before you build it. I’m going to do that between now and November 1. Come November 1, I’m going to write the hell out of it.
I love the community of writers on here and my thought is to document my process a bit, as I’m in the midst of it.
My other hope is that some of you will join me. Together we can valiantly struggle through the process together. At best case, we might have a first draft of a novel that is quite decent. With some tweaking and editing, maybe it will actually be publishable. At worst case, we’ll have produced another volume of shit, which will get us closer to actually writing something of value. Remember, you have to write a lot of shite to get to the value. I, for one, am willing to get the shite out of the way as fast as possible.
Let’s get to the particulars…
Here is the NaNoWriMo site. I’ve signed up for a profile under SweetMother. Check it out. More importantly, check out the sign up page for you. Read up on the month yourself. If you google, “NaNoWriMo” you will find a ton of posts on others and their experience over the course of National Novel Writing Month. In the comments section, let me know if you want to write it out with me. Also, if you want to prep a bit beforehand, let me know. I’ll point you in the direction of the materials I’m using to do so.
Let’s do this. It could be fun. At the very least, by Christmas, we’ve accomplished something pretty huge…
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