When you are at a job in front of a computer all day, than you are at home in front of a computer all day many things get pushed to the wayside. Including working on your blog. But, when you have a really good excuse, you use it and you justify only posting here and there. No why am I using excuses this month? Well because this month is NaNoWriMo! Or Novel November, and for the first time, I am participating.
For those that aren’t in the know, NaNoWriMo is a national event that brings professional and amateur writers together. The goal is very simple. Write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. That is pretty much the only rule. Other than that, you have complete creative freedom. You can write any type of book, fiction or non, mystery or fantasy, and include any type of historical fiction twists and turns you want. I was inspired for my book by reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. A historical fiction book that looked at the early days of the comic book business. I loved that it was able to keep me enthralled and had so many layers. It made me want to write something that was so sincere and honest but so fantastic at the same time.
The organization, previously named The Office of Letters and Lights, started the writing project in 1999. The organization firmly believes in the written language and the creative outlet that it provides and that too many people are scared to write because it won’t be good. To mitigate that problem, the organization decided to focus on size rather than content to help people get motivated and write their first draft. Further editing can happen beyond November of course, but you must have your first draft done by November 30th.
I first had heard about this project a few years ago. It seemed simple enough, you sit down in front of your computer and you write. You just go into a black out state of writing frenzy and than 30 days later, boom. A novel. But I never did it. I always “thought” about doing about halfway through the month. It really was something I never actively participated in. But after starting this blog and over the last year, I have been trying to push myself. I have been trying to make myself do things that challenge me mentally, physically, and spiritually. I started performing magic again, tapdance, reading, attending public forums and events, and now writing a novel.
It is now 14 days into the month, I am roughly at about 3000 words and I have learned a lot.
Lessons to writing your first draft of your first novel
1. The comittment and time management for a project like this is extremely difficult. I am a perfectionist and feel like if I can’t do something perfect in the 11th hour, than I won’t do it. Writing 50,000 words and trying to keep up with it in a timely manner is impossible.
2. Don’t worry about making a perfect 1st draft. I want to write a real book. I don’t want this to be an exercise in writing (that is what this website is for) I want to make something that has the potential to become a real published novel. But at the same time, I can’t worry about research and getting my facts right. I don’t have time. I need to flesh out my story and characters and than tweak after November.
3. Just write. Plain and simple, when I am having downtime I can’t be looking at my sartorial blogs. I must be writing this month.
4. Coffee is my best friend (duh.)
5. Did I mention just write?
6. Research is okay. On day 14 I just now learned that I could have researched, outlined, and planned out my book before November. The only rule is that no writing of the book can happen before the 1st of November. So this is something that when you commit, you have to commit.
I really like this type of non-profit and project. It challenges people artistically and forces you out of your comfort zone. It is something that you are really doing for yourself. Not for someone else, not for an organization or an award. You are really just writing for the simple pleasure of writing. It takes a lot of soul searching and really allowing for yourself to be humble and grow.
I really like this experience. I like being able to tell people about my book and say that I am participating. When people ask me why I simply get to respond “why not?”
It is definitely something to look into and something that I absolutely love doing . The only thing is that it is starting to take over my life and now at work I catch myself writing notes for story, writing actual dialogue and trying to hide it from my boss. Check it out and be inspired to do something that is time consuming, daunting, but so intrinsically rewarding.
To take a look at my novel, “From Outerspace, IT came!” check out the doodle section.