It's almost November and that means most of this month's entries will be about writing. For the third year in a row I'm involved in Nanowrimo or National Novel Writing Month. This is about writing a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. I think the first time I heard about this I was in the middle of editing several manuscripts, so how could I possibly add anything more to my plate? And what kind of writing quality can you establish in just thirty days?
After I received my graduate degree, I was burnt out from editing and critiques and revising, so I put my writing on hold for quite a while. Then some of my writing friends signed up for this endeavor and suggested that I do it, too. And you know, it was the best thing I could have done. For years I had been revising my manuscripts and not writing anything new. For Nano, revising and editing is not allowed. You write all new stuff, which is where a lot of the fun of writing comes from anyway. It's like giving yourself permission to write sloppy and put the editing on hold until you get the whole story down on paper. (as Anne Lamott would say, "shi*ty first drafts.")
I also discovered that the Twin Cities region is very strong, with over 6000 participants. There are scheduled "write-ins" several times a week where you meet other writers at local coffee shops and libraries and sit in silent support while you click out words on your laptop. Once in a while you take a break, ask people what they're writing, compare word counts. (Average per day is 1667 words which is a very doable goal.)
My first year I wrote the first draft of Touching Infinity, my fantasy novel. Last year I went a bit unorthodox and added 50K words to my half finished thesis project which was a twins novel. (Hey, I had to finish it at some point anyway.) I'm still revising these novels, but at least I know I can take a break and write new stuff in November. This year I'm writing a woman pirate novel and as the month progresses I'll give updates on my process.
The first Nano event for this year was the annual Kickoff meeting which was last night, held at Nina's Café in St. Paul. This year I actually knew a few people from other writing groups, but I also met more people. The best part is finding out what others are writing and then giving each other ideas. I met someone writing a 30-something novel; I shared ideas with someone writing a novel about mermaids. There are a lot of people writing urban fantasies, sci fi, romance, or mystery. I also met someone else who dances.
The past two years I made my 50K goal; I'm looking forward to seeing how this new story turns out.