I have decided to take the plunge — I signed up to participate in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). (I even signed up as a member on the website.) Why?
Well, it has always been a dream of mine to write a real novel. Most of my writing projects have failed before ever getting started. The immense weight of actually writing more than 800 words was too great for me, and then, I always have Mr. Realistic’s voice in my head, “You know you can’t do this. You are not a real writer. Real writers have trouble writing books, so what makes you think you can do this?” People may think that a recognized national month dedicated to writing is absolute silliness, but I disagree. It is exactly what I needed to forge ahead with my goal.
The goals are set, the supportive cast is ready, so all that is left is the actual writing. So far, so good. My output could be better, but I have already surpassed any word count from previous efforts, which is either sad, or really good. (I’ll choose good.)
The opportunity to craft characters and story ideas is intoxicating. However, even under the influence of the writing buzz, writing a real novel is hard work. Not physical labor, of course, but the mind seems to twist and turn over every dialog, plot, or character development idea. Madness. For example, a scene describing a simple phone number exchange caused me great agony. Was the dialog realistic? Would this event actually happen? Then, there are other details, too. What would these characters wear? I am not a fashion guy. Plus, I have no money, and my characters are wealthy. Oh, the list goes on and on.
Fortunately, there are tips for aspiring writers. Here are two of the main tips I find encouraging. They are lifted from www.nanowrimo.org
1) It’s okay to not know what you’re doing. Really. You’ve read a lot of novels, so you’re completely up to the challenge of writing one.
2) Do not edit as you go. Editing is for December and beyond. Think of November as an experiment in pure output.
Okay, so I failed number two already. I’ll get better.
There are also some great tips found on this blog post.
Cheers to anyone out there trying to write a novel! Chances are, I am clawing and scratching toward the finish line, so don’t think that you are alone in the struggle. (If you aren’t struggling, tell me your secret.)