Last year I participated in National Novel Writing Month. I have always felt I had a book floating around in my head. In October last year I thought what better way than to participate in the event to get it out of my head and down into black and white. So I signed up and participated.
It was a great experience. I highly recommend it for anyone who thinks that they have a novel floating around in their head. It kept me going and the pressure to get the words out of my head on a schedule gave me some feel what doing this for a living might involve. I wrote every single day. My novel moved forward excuses not allowed.
Unfortunately I am sitting this year out. For the first time I can ever remember there is not book in my head taking shape. I am not sure why, but I chalk it up to doing so much self exploration right now. No matter the cause this year I am sitting National Novel Writing Month out. It is the right thing at this time.
Good luck to all the rest of you who have made the commitment to write this year.
I have just been declared a winner because I just finished certifying my novel for having written at least 50,000 words in November. I wonder about being a winner because it clearly is not a complete story yet. On the other hand it has enough words that it could easily turn into a novel if I stick with it. I have always thought that there is a novel in me and for a host of reasons I have never gotten this far before. It was a great experience and I plan to stick with this one and finish it up.
At the end of 30 days there is lots I have learned.
My writing style is pantser. I am too analytical and if I plan my book I never get beyond planning the perfect novel.
I am more flexible that I thought, because the critical conflict was not anything that was on my radar when I started writing.
I can accomplish an ambitious goal without it taking over my life to the exclusion of other things I enjoy. I managed to make cards, teach a creative class, watch movies, read books, visit friends, x-c ski and other things important to me in the midst of this.
Work will always impact your home life. I was on the road for work and did not write for several days, but it did not prevent me from accomplishing a personal goal. Don’t let work be an excuse for not accomplishing your personal goals.
I like creative writing. It provides a place for all those voices in my head to find a outlet.
Longer stories are much harder than short stories, blogs and other writing I have done.
Being a writer made me a much more attentive reader.
I like writing dialogue.
My business writing skills, as good as they may be, are not sufficient alone to support creative writing.
I will be looking to take some creative writing classes.
I will be looking for a writer’s group to support and question me as I work through the editing process.
Thanks for those who were along for the ride. It is only the first time around the track and I can see that there is at least another lap or two to be made before I finish this race.
I love this poster and may have to just get one for myself. It captures so much of what goes on in a writer’s mind, or at least my mind this last month.
This is just past the half-way mark for National Novel Writing Month. I should have passed the 25,000 word mark this week. I must say this week has been less than stellar for making progress and I am not where I should be. I was on the road this week with work. It was a week fraught with other things pulling at me in all directions none of them giving a rip roar about this little adventure I was on. Now it seems that I am coming down with something nasty and my head is not doing a lot of clear thinking. It sounds like I am going to throw in the towel.
I thought about quitting. I even stayed in bed late this morning hoping a little more sleep time would make me feel better. It did not and I considered giving up for this year. Then I thought about a friend who in just a few minutes will be starting her first half-marathon tonight in LasVegas. She is doing it with friends, one of whom had this on her life list. The other five are just there for moral support. She is busy, with as many things as I have, pulling at her as well. In the midst of this training she has come down with knee and foot problems. It would have been easier for her to quit, but she made a commitment not only to her friends but herself to be there for her friends.
I made this commitment to myself, and I plan to keep it. If you are thinking of quitting, don’t just yet. Hang in there for yourself, it was important enough for you to start it, don’t let yourself not finish it. If you are not working on some goal right this minute, be there to encourage your family and friends who are. I curse the lost of anonymity on the internet all the time, but for once I am having fun watching and cheering on my friend who I can’t be there for virtually. I plan to be one of the first to text my friend when the live race reporting shows her bib number has crossed the finish line. I am proud to be in the company of those who never give up.
Well I am nine days into this adventure and still going strong. I have written just over 14,000 words. This is good in that I am on target to finish if I continue to write like I have been. But when I think about my goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month it is true that I am not very far in the process. I sometimes wonder what I have written so far, and RangerSir has hinted he’d like to read it. I have started this process before and not finished each time so am going to write until the voices in my head tell me it is over or the end of the month whichever comes first. No getting diverted by early editing.
The good part of all of this writing is that for the most part my real life has not gone down the toilet or put on hold because I am spending all my time writing. I still have a my job and show up and work each day. I am carrying my load around the house, not letting RangerSir do a disproportionate amount of the general household chores ( I have a white chicken chilli in the crock pot, my last load of laundry in the drier, and manged to go to down and grocery shop before the mega storm arrives). I still have carved out time to enjoy some of my other creative ventures including teaching a class, making some cards, blogging a little and reading some for pleasure. Now that it sounds like I am having it all that is not true, my exercise program in almost nonexistent and I have two Christmas gifts to make that are not even started. Life isn’t perfect but it is damn good and someday who knows I may call myself a novelist. You just have to write one not publish one to call yourself novelist, but if I get lucky I could do both.
Now it is time to close this off and get back to the business of writing.
I have taken a fair number of writing classes. Most of them have revolved around business writing. I have mastered the fine art of writing proposals, documenting businesses operations, and general written communications. In the course of my career I have learned how to use general business writing skills and developed my technical writing skills. I can write text for websites taking into consideration how it will affect SEO (search engine optimization). I have been doing this all long enough that it comes easy.
I have recorded family history and taken classes to help me learn how to take dry dull, facts and figures and bring to life the people who I have researched. This works writing style works well with my analytical brain.
Now I am writing my first novel and I have discovered I know almost nothing about the right punctuation for dialogue. I know the fundamentals of the use of quotation marks and where the comma goes but beyond that I have no idea. I am writing this novel pantser style so there will be lots of editing to do when I am done. I will be looking to take class, read a book or some other way to learn more about the right way to handle dialogue. Right now the ideas are flowing, and they say as long as that is happening if you are a pantser you keep on going.
They say in good dialogue writing the reader knows who is speaking without telling them. What a goal.
I am over 8,000 words tonight and I put in a full day of work. I am getting a blog posting written and I worked on a gift a bit tonight in my studio. Do you suppose this novel is providing all this energy?
Today I started my novel as planned. It started off pretty fantastic if I do say so myself. So far this writing my the seat of my pants has worked. I knew a few things about my character when I started and as I have written I have found out more about her. I am not kidding myself that every day will go so well or I will always find the so much time to write, but I am making progress. Watch how it goes on the right side of the page. My goal is 50,000 words by the end of the month. Who knows if 50k makes a novel or not, but it is a target to shoot for.
Many of us are sure that there is a book hiding inside of us. It is not likely the next great American novel, but a nice book in there that folks just might like to read if we just put down on paper. I am sure I have one or two, but just never seem to get off the dime and get moving.
At one time, probably the busiest time in my life, I belonged to a writing group when I lived in the Minneapolis metro area. It was a great bunch of creative women and they were both published and non published, back when there was no serious self publish option like there is now with Amazon. They were so supportive and willing to share. They came from a diverse bunch of backgrounds and wrote in the whole spectrum of genres. Some had a couple of names for the different genres they wrote in. If you need to find out a procedure someone was always willing to help you find a person who you could run your ideas past to see if you got the nuts and bolts of how it was done right. They knew chefs, chauffeurs, FBI agents, police detectives, corners, publishers, restaurant owners, wheelwrights, and any anything else you might need. I did lots of research, background work and my analytical mind went into high gear in all that “should do” stuff they tell you that you must do before you begin to write. It should have been the perfect group of people to write with, but my timing was wrong. I never got that novel written.
Well National Novel Writing Month is just about here again and I am going to give it a whirl again. Only this time I am going to be a “let’er rip” girl this time. There are novelists who just sit down and write by the seat of their pants and then go back and fill it in, edit it out, and make the story become a full-fledged novel. I am going to try that this time because the planning approach has not worked for me. I am now in the state of less than a million people, Montana, in one of the more sparsely populated areas and so that cushion my writing group gave me to research before I wrote is gone. I am going to write and when I find a spot I need some research I am going to punt my way through it and come back and find just who and what I need when the need is there and real.
It may be good. It may be bad. No matter, when the end of November finally rolls around I am hoping I have 50,000 words down on paper. A story, that may become a novel. It can’t be any worse than my previous attempt that never got out of the gate. Tomorrow it begins