NaNoWriMo is coming up again soon. Right now, we have a little under 11 days to go. This will be my second year participating in the event, and I’m extremely excited… and very worried. NaNoWriMo is short for “National Novel Writing Month”. It’s when insane people from all around the world come together and decide to write a novel in 1 month (or at least write 50,000 words). 30 days, 50,000 words. Yikes.
The one thing that scares me about this competition is failure. Its one thing for me to decide to do something, its another for me to actually follow through. In fact, I rarely follow through on projects I begin. Do you know how many blankets I have began to crochet that are laying around this place? Too many. I’ll find a pretty yarn and get a pattern and dig into it eagerly. 5 rows later its collecting dust.
Last year I began the NaNoWriMo challenge without an idea of what I even wanted to write. I know everyone around me knew I wasn’t actually going to write a book – because lets face it, 50,000 words is freaking ambitious for a person like me. And 6 days into the competition sure enough, I hadn’t written a damn thing. Then something hit me, a fire to actually do something, and a vague idea that I wanted to write a fantasy novel. I had no idea what type of fantasy novel, and I had no idea who my characters were going to be. So without any clue what I was doing, I sat down and let my fingers do their thing across the keyboard.
I sat up in bed with my laptop listening to Muse every single night for the rest of that month. Even though I was almost a week late starting, by the time November 30th rolled around I had my novel. Was it any good? No, its pure garbage. I recently re-read it and I can’t imagine letting anyone else look at that. Of course, what I have is a rough rough draft that was once a non-idea.
And let me tell you it was a wonderful experience writing that rough rough draft. I had no idea where I was going with my story, who my villains were, what my heroes could do – I honestly knew none of it. I would sit down each night after work and pick up where I left off, learning something new about my story every time. This reminds me of something Stephen King said in his book On Writing about honestly being the first reader of his books – because he’s reading a new story as he’s writing it. That’s how I felt last year, as I pounded out my 50,000 words.
Well, so the novel I wrote isn’t amazing, and should never be read by anyone…ever. But I do have a pretty good idea now, that can be rewritten into something a little more digestible. It will also probably need to be split up into more than one novel because as I read it it became obvious I didn’t have an audience – the novel starts with a scrawny 5 year old boy and ends with his marriage. That’s going to appeal to roughly…no one. At any rate, I had fun writing my story, and I actually accomplished something that even my husband wasn’t holding out on.
This year, I actually do have a plan. I’ve been working on this plan in my head and writing out the logistics of it for a couple of months now. I know the character’s names, and I know a little about what they are like. I know the situations they are going to get into and maybe more important than any of that, I know the audience – Young Adult.
So, I count down to November 1st – excited to start my project and force myself into working on this novel – and nervous that I will fall on my face a week in and never go back.