In just 6 days NaNoWriMo begins.
“Thirty days and nights of literary abandon.”
This will be my fifth. My FIFTH, even though I’ve been writing novels since my junior year in highschool (1989). Why I didn’t start participating before 2008 was simply because I didn’t believe I needed the push to write a novel. After all, in five years time (from ’99 to 2004) I had written and finished more than 35 individual novel drafts (these can be found at mintfield.net). So what did I need with NaNoWriMo?
How little I understood about the challenge and comradeship that comes with this contest. You can read my ruminations about the aftermath of the 2011 NaNoWriMo journey at the Northwest Christian Writers Association blog.
I’m nervous this year, as usual. After all, a part of me toys with the idea of juggling two novels, my romantic comedy as well as the prequel to my paranormal fantasy (a winner of the 2008 NaNoWriMo). A glutton for punishment, I know. Always.
Then there is the wonder, have I outlined enough to get me through to 50,000 words? Is my editor ready to be silent? Or, rather, content with catching spelling errors (misspelled words aren’t counted by MS Word) and expanding contractions?
There is, also, the concern I won’t have enough energy or mental fortitude to support the launch of my inspirational romance, Searching for Sara, and its blog tour which begins Cyber Monday, Nov. 26th.
This is the first year I won’t have my Washington State writer friends to support me at write-ins and all-nighters. This year, I am in tiny Beulah, North Dakota, and it’s up to me to find out where [if any] the write-ins are hosted.
My husband, also a participant this year, will be my only support, and I his, to ensure we hit and exceed the 50,000 mark. Perhaps this year I will need to write some ridiculous scenes? If Para remains my singular focus, we all know that shouldn’t be too difficult. She says some pretty outlandish things and gets herself into some crazy situations. With my project being a prequel, the opportunity for mayhem is huge. Why? Because the prequel opens with an eight-year-old Para and her ten-year-old friend, Philip, sneaking out of the house to adventures in the nearby woods.
I might be pulling a lot from my own childhood for fuel. Oh, and of course my husband. He has a gift for envisioning the villainous.
One thing that will keep me on the upside of this chaotic adventure is my husband, as he is an invaluable resource for helping me brainstorm myself out of possible corners.
I cannot stress enough how important a brainstorming partner is for something of NaNoWriMo magnitude. Our imagination ricocheting off of another’s? Pure inspiration. Even if you don’t utilize any of their feedback, it greases your mind’s wheels and sends your brain skittering in countless directions. That, my friends, is priceless, and can sometimes lead to the best characters or story you have yet to write.
As writers, we love the physical aspect of writing, be it by hand or by typing. I still have reams upon reams of my handwritten pages I simply cannot give up to the fireplace or the shredder. My NaNoWriMo projects are the same way. I have a folder on my computer specifically for my NaNo projects, be they forever conscripted to the “back burner” or simply used as fodder for a “wouldn’t it be nice if I could somehow find a way to weave this into the sequel?”
Admit it, you’ve all had those moments.
And it is these moments which are key for our writing future, keeping us interested. Keeping us intrigued. And that is why I NaNo. For the sheer chaos of it all.
Why do you NaNo? Why do you not?