So, welcome to National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo!
Not know what I’m talking about? Go see. Think you don’t know where to begin, and a blank screen just sounds too scary? Check the awesome workbooks, which are made for kids and teens, but I know plenty of adults who use them too. Heck, I might count myself among their number soon, since I have NO idea what I’m doing with my NaNovel this year.
Anyway, I have fiction on the brain, and thought it might be fun to talk here about my history as both a reader and a writer, since, IMO, the latter is predicated upon the former. I’ve never been published in anything of note, and never sold my work to much of anyone other than family, but I *do* consider myself a successful writer, since I tend to be happy with the stuff that I bother to clean up, and I enjoy the process.
If you’d like to see how I got to where I am as a reader and writer, I’d love to have you along for the ride…
I’ll start with the good stuff: In media res…
I started a worldwide creativity project a few years ago in a very niche community in a very small segment of geek culture, and my philosophy had some pretty simple points: boot competition out the door, ask dumb questions, help your neighbours out as you can, and, above all, you decide if you are doing it right, and, if you are having fun, you probably are. Well, it grew–like topsy–and before I knew it, someone said “sort of like Nanowrimo, but for $nichegeeks.”
About ten minutes later I was in love. I had been thrilled that several thousand people liked my idea, but OI: this guy Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo, had HUNDREDS of thousands of people getting together every November to do the exact same thing, but for *writing*, and his version was far more delightfully silly than my own.
I think it was a few days before Halloween when I found out about Nano, and yet my husband and I both jumped in with both feet, and we both “won,” which in Nano terms means that we each pounded out more than 50,ooo words during the month of November on our original stories.
I’ve never gone back and reread any of that story. No, never. I have fond memories of some scenes, but I am pretty darned sure that it sucks: I really don’t feel a need to prove it to myself. I had fun, and proved to myself that I could apply butt to computer chair, and that is what I set out to do. I’ve peeked back at wins #2 and #3, and they weren’t *so* bad, but still. Heck, I lost the first 25K of Nano 2010, and started over on a prequel. I might go back to that one sometime – it actually had something like an actual plot arc!
I’m coming into this year’s Nano almost as cold as I did the first year; a premise and main character, and that’s it. I simply haven’t had time to prep it this year, and, honestly, I’m not really feeling it yet, either.
But that is one thing I have learned about writing from doing Nano: I’m *not* always going to feel it. Sometimes I need to just DO it, and see what comes…