I am a slow writer. I am always astounded by people who say they write a draft in a month, or even in two months. I placate myself by saying such drafts must not be very good. Otherwise I think I would completely despair, close the laptop permanently, and take up life as a pig farmer.
When I write, I open my files, and my characters stare at me from the page patiently waiting for stage directions. I give them setting, and they tap their feet. I give them description, and they cross their arms.
I say, “What do you want me to do? You’re the character! Do something! Make some plot happen!”
Meanwhile, my characters look at their nails, stifle a yawn, and reply, “You’re the writer. What do you want me to do?”
This continues until I’m so disheartened that I skip to the end and take a cue from Scarlett O’Hara. I’ll think about the middle tomorrow.
So the whole concept of NaNoWriMo has always smacked of insanity to me. It seems as if you’re just setting yourself up for failure, disappointment, and disillusionment. Not to mention a future of pig-farming.
I made one attempt at NaNoWriMo a few years ago—not to write a new novel, but to finish the one I had been working on.
It was awful from start to finish. Family responsibilities cropped up, a national holiday, and plans for the eldest gingerbread boy’s birthday party. [On a side note, that was the year in which the Christmas tree fell down the night before the party, shattering all the glass ball ornaments into the carpet. That happened at 9:00 pm, too late to vacuum as the gingerbread boys were in bed. That was also the night the power went out, leaving me with the glass shards remaining in the carpet. With a group of children coming over for a birthday party. And tons of snow outside. And no heat. Thank you, Mother Nature. Just a walk down memory lane.]
Anywho, you may be surprised after reading this that I have signed up for NaNoWriMo this year. Remember this? And this? Well, the stars have aligned, and I have a new project. A new outline. Characters who speak to me. An actual plot. AND it’s November.
So I’ve decided to push myself a bit—in the same way I pushed myself to shimmy up the rock-climbing wall and run a 5K. A sort of manic (rhymes with panic) attempt at lassoing life. We’ll see what happens. It’s certainly not going to be pretty, but that’s what revision is for, right?
Are you doing NaNoWriMo? If so, look me up. I might need a little encouragement if my characters decide to stop speaking to me.