It's two weeks until November and I'm starting to gear up mentally for National Novel Writing Month. For those of you who don't know the routine, this is an annual writing marathon (of sorts). Participants all pledge to write a "novel" of 50,000 words in 30 days (November). Fifty thousand words is a book about 100 pages long -- shorter than most novels, but longer than a novelette. It doesn't have to be good -- actually, the point is that it forces you to write more quickly than you might if you were not on a deadline. It's a way of bypassing the internal editor. There's no published book at the end -- just the pleasure of crossing the finish line and the accolades of your friends, family, and fellow participants.
I have participated in this for the last couple years. The first year, 2004, I succeeded in finishing a novel about a female bounty hunter in space. I think it was a little cliched and the story quality didn't hold up at the end as I tried to force it into the plot mold I had figured out beforehand. The second year, 2005, I did not succeed. I started a novel about a poor, blue-collar couple dealing with the sudden discovery that a whole world of magic exists behind the everyday world. I had to give up shortly after the halfway mark with only 20K words. Work was a priority over the novel, and to prove it, I checked my timesheets. I worked 55 hours per week for the remaining weeks in November. I reread that beginning of a novel again a couple months ago and was pretty pleased with the concept and the characters. I think it was better than the year before, mainly because I was getting used to the idea of the characters running the story. I didn't keep such a tight hold on the story or plot.
This time, I'm going to go even looser. I've been having some trouble with writer's block, mostly because I've been taking writing too seriously. I've decided to treat this "novel" as a creative playground. No plot necessary, just a main character (probably modeled on myself to begin with) and the same world I used in the previous NaNovel half fantasy, half reality. There are no rules except that I have fun. And no one else will read it. That way, I won't feel restricted to what people might expect from me. I might find a few excerpts that can be made public -- in fact, I know I will, since there is an excerpt opportunity on my NaNo profile. I'll put it on the sidebar so you all can find it if you like. Look for the writer "tattoo" and click on it.
Don't worry about missing out on any of the fun. Because I spend so much of my "free time" in front of the computer during this month, you'll be seeing more posts from me, not less.
Thier slogan this year: "National Novel Writing Month: Thirty Days and Nights of Literary Abandon." It's definitely the appropriate sentiment.
[dances a jig] This is going to be fun! :)