No, I did not reach the 50,000-word floor that NaNoWriMo puts out there as a goal for sprint-writing in November. I didn’t come close. (4,286 is the count, to be exact.) But I don’t care, for two reasons:
- I spent much of my writing time editing the manuscript of someone else’s novelette. (More on that soon.)
- Writing is about process, not about distance.
I embraced the NaNoWriMo endeavor not so much to see if I have the right stuff to blast out 50k words in 30 days. I know I can do that. I’ve done it before, blogging, writing screenplays, writing short stories. I can be pretty long-winded on the keyboard, despite my best intentions.
No, I NaNoed simply to jump-start the process.
I have a day job that’s pretty all-engrossing. It demands my attention all my waking hours, and not a few of my sleeping hours as well. I needed an occasion to give myself permission to get back into writing. This was it.
And it worked, such as it is. I have a concept, a very very rough outline, a main character I’m kind of liking, and a few scenes. Enough to hang onto. Enough to build upon.
People flog themselves over NaNoWriMo. So many who don’t reach 50,000 words call the endeavor a failure. “I tried NaNoWriMo and failed!” What crap. This isn’t grade school. This is life. This is craft. This is something you do, not something you achieve.
Are you writing? Guess what. That’s not failing.
They’re two different jobs. I’ve been doing a bit of both this month. On the one hand, NaNoWriMo isn’t really happening for me. On the other hand, I’m helping a novelette get published, and I think it’s pretty good work. So that’s good.
I’ve been writing for decades, but I haven’t turned a sustained effort towards fiction in ages. I guess blogging and work and other things have kept me busy enough. But they don’t satisfy me like writing.
So I’ve been turning some of my intention towards writing a novel I have in mind. That’s why I created this blog here. And I created it on WordPress.com so I won’t get distracted by designing and developing this blog itself. That would be all to easy of a procrastination activity. Oh, I can’t write today! I have to deploy some module updates!
NaNoWriMo has always intrigued me, and I contemplated using it as a motivator before to actually get writing. But I didn’t. Now I truly intend to do it. Or stick with it. Or use it as a jump to at least get going.
Because getting going is the point. I’ve written about 1000 words of the new novel so far, but they’re terrible. They don’t have the right voice. And now I think I’ve found the right voice. So I want to continue.
In a way, NaNoWriMo is a kind of collective, structured freewriting. A way to get away from the internal editor that prevents you from actually getting anywhere. And I like that idea. It’s liberating.
As for what I’m writing, that will have to wait. I don’t like to talk about what I’m writing until I have made some real progress.