Saturday, October 29, 2011

November Is Upon Us ...

So, It's that time of year again ... it's almost time for NaNoWriMo. November is only a few days away, and I am determined to do NaNo again this year ... despite the fact that:
  1. I have no idea what I'm going to write
  2. My last two attempts were thwarted by my perfectionist nature and my desire to write something GOOD
  3. I am a horrible procrastinator
Every year, I think that I am going to write something brilliant.  Without intending to toot my own horn, I must say this:  I am a very fast writer.  I write with a laptop - which is sacrilege to a number of my fellow M.A. students - but I edit/revise with a pen, simply because my brain runs too fast.  A pen simply cannot keep up with what's going on in my head, and I've only gotten faster as my typing skills have improved over the years.

(Aside: are you a writer, and you want to be able to type faster?  Get an office job in which you are deluged by emails, all of which need to be answered pronto.  Your typing skills will naturally improve in short order.)

I bring this up to demonstrate a point.  I can easily type 50K words in 30 days.  I've been known to write entire short stories (16-20 pp.) over the course of a day or evening, and they usually come out pretty decent.  Requiring revising, of course, but the structure and the story is there and it's readable.

But for some reason, the idea of a novel in 30 days leaves me stymied.  I did succeed once, in 2009, but only just barely and not without (I think) damaging the nerve cells in my wrists.  And I was only able to do that because my husband was pushing me to finish, and I didn't want to deal with him giving me a hard time for the rest of the year if I didn't.

My problem is that I start out with these grandiose ideas of my Great American Novel, and everything is going to be fabulous and magical ... until I start writing, and I begin thinking, "This is such a piece of crap. I'm a better writer than this. What the hell am I doing?"

I fail to remember every time that every writer's first draft is crap. I forget, I get discouraged and I give up.  I just need to remember that the first draft is SUPPOSED to be terrible, that the real craft, the real art comes with the revision.  ANYONE can write a novel in 30 days if they spend enough time at the keyboard, but it's a writer who can take that steaming pile of crap and make it beautiful.

So my region's NaNo kick-off party is this afternoon.  I was supposed to drive up north to see my sister and niece, but the snow (WTF? In OCTOBER?) put an end to that, which means I get to go to my kick-off party! 

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