NaNoWriMo

1 11 2009

No, I’m not speaking in tongues. And no, it’s not a new technology that you have to keep up with. (Though I wouldn’t blame you if you thought that. I did too the first time I heard of such a thing.) Quite the opposite. NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth is a month long writing “contest” focused on getting us all to do that thing we all always mean to get around to, you know, someday, when we have the time, when we’re not so busy, or when we go on vacation, or when the mood or the story or the words strike us just right. You know? Get around to writing that Great American (Southern) Novel. But they rarely do, do they?

nanowrimo header

I first heard of NaNoWriMo in 2007. Newly married, living in a new city, knowing no one, and a little overwhelmed, to be honest, this mission was just what I needed. I heard of the project, beginning November 1st, in late October, so with not much time to worry, or anticipate just how difficult this might be, I embarked. Armed with only an 8-year old laptop (perfect, by the way… as there was zero temptation to browse the internet when I was supposed to be writing my 2,000 words a day), I began the project with a goal of writing a 50,000 word novel in the span of only 30 days.

Remember that part where we were talking about how we’ll all get around to writing that novel, someday? Well, see, as we all know, even as Southerners who take it slow, that someday rarely comes. And even if it does, we stress ourselves out to much about quality to get out more than the first few pages.

So NaNoWriMo’s mission is simple. Just do it. And do it fast. Quick. Jump right in like that freezing cold lake the first of spring and just swim. For 30 days. Sure, when you get out, your numb, can barely think straight. And hey, yes, your fingers can barely move (wow, didn’t realize how well that metaphor was gonna work out), but you have something. And no, that thing is not usually the Great American Novel (though if you’re lucky, you’ve got the makings of the beginnings of a thought of one). No, you’ve got… the perfect cocktail party anecdote. Just try not impressing your friends when you casually mention, “In my first novel, I explored the character named Joy.”

And even if you’re too shy to tell anyone, you have written a novel. How many people can say that? Well, I’ll tell you how many more people can say that as of November 30th. About 15,000 of them. And you can be one of them.

So, I tell you all this to say, that this year, I’ll embark again. To be honest, the first year, I bored even myself by about the third chapter. Last year, I actually really related to my characters. And this year, I hope to be the next Dostoevsky (albeit, a Southern Mr. Fyodor).

So, in these high hopes, I’m giving fair warning to you, all our dear SIT readers (and to you, my dear friend, Becky, to whom I shall be indebted through all of Christmas season), that I will be a slacker this month when it comes to cooking, cleaning, sleeping — anything but writing will take a hit. Waking up early, staying up late, all but ignoring my dear in-laws as they travel far to risk their lives as I prepare Thanksgiving dinner while distracted on the final twist of the deeply dimensional, yet not overly contrived characters. Yes, dear friends, while someday I hope to share with you, and the world (excuse me, Random House, are you listening??) my Great American Novel, for this month, I pray you’ll forgive me while I ignore you, dear cyber friends, in pursuit of this goal. And in exchange, you can berate me, mock me, chastise me for the rest of time if I don’t finish (how’s that for motivation come November 27th when I’m certain I can’t write another word?). That is, unless you’d like to join me?

P.S. – For those of you who are not crazy, I’ve “banked” a few articles to automatically post thanks to our beloved WordPress publishing feature, so you won’t be totally left devoid of all Ginger POV (that’s point of view, for those of you non-writers — look at me being all cocky so far) this month. You can look forward to some savory doughnuts, a little Athens love (of course), a tribute to one of my inspirations, Flannery O’Connor, and of course, a few Tuesday Tips. Cheers!

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19 11 2009
Flannery O’Connor « Sweet Iced Tea

[…] my great writing pursuits this month, I find myself needed to take a break from time to time in order to refuel my word bank. […]

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