November Nostalgia

>> Monday, November 5, 2012

It's November and I’m in grief mode.

For the last three years, November has generated an excitement in me like no other. My creative juices gushed like an overflowing river with fingers twitching in anticipation.

Because of NaNo.

Pig latin? No.

NaNo is short for NaNoWriMo. Which is short for the National Novel Writing Month.

It’s about words.
50,000 of them, to be exact.

Started several years ago in California by a bored bunch of writers, NaNoWriMo has become a world-wide phenomenon (at least amongst the writerly-type) with over 200,000 participants this year.

The premise is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. That’s around 1600 words a day or about 1 ½ typewritten pages. It takes discipline, billions of brain cells, and gallons of coffee. You have to be willing to set aside your life, ignore the family, and farm out the animals or let them starve.

In other words, it’s all consuming.

And I never regretted one minute of it.

My first time out, I hit the 50,000 word goal, but didn’t finish the story.

Year two found me off in an entirely different direction. While I don't intend to pursue the story any further, it was a great learning tool. It taught me how to construct a story arc from start to the finish (around 70,000 words,) about plotting, and proved I had it in me to build a novel.

Year three was momentous because I picked up the storyline from year one and finally completed the manuscript: Photo Finish was born.

While I adore the challenge and adrenalin rush of NaNo, you don’t have time to edit: it’s all about getting words on paper. Consequently, the finished product is anything but finished and re-writes are mountainous. I’ve been editing and revising my completed manuscript for quite some time and have a long way to go.

Which lead to my decision to sit out the 2012 NaNo challenge. And the subsequent dive into my current grief-filled status.

I’m determined to forge ahead with Photo Finish. And I couldn’t justify starting yet another large project when my current manuscript is in need of attention. (Look at me all mature and acting like a big girl…)

Yeah, I could have given in to the fun and excitement generated by thousands of people typing their fingers to nubbins for a month (we keep track of each other’s progress via the NaNo site) but it really would be kind of irresponsible.

Winners certificates from three years of NaNo
It wasn’t a popular decision: My inner-writer threw a temper tantrum and my muse went on strike.

But I’ll deal with them and slog along with edits during November.

It’s the “write” thing to do.



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