Being the cynical cuss that I am, I generally look askance at online group activities such as National Novel Writing Month. I mean, c'mon. Who honestly thinks they can write a publishable 50,000-word novel in 30 days? I'm not some precious urban hipster who has the time to don his pork pie hat and clear-lensed horn-rimmed glasses and spend the day noodling around on his Apple Air at the local Starbucks. I'm a writing professional, man!
But I've had a change of heart this year, and I've signed up for NaNoWriMo (*shudder*), as it's known. Why?
1. Whatever I produce will most likely not be 50,000 words long or a novel or publishable. And I'm cool with that.
I'm trying to get over worrying about what kind of writer I'm "supposed" to be and instead just explore what kind of writer I actually am. I know -- how Zen of me. But I can see the value of charging through a first draft, letting the proverbial chips fall where they may, not stressing about where I'm heading but going as far as I can as fast as I can. Even if I only complete 5,000 words, that's more than I've got right now.
And if I do succeed in finishing a real manuscript at some unspecified point in time and I'm sufficiently pleased with it to send it off into the world, it will be published, even if only on the Kindle or the iPad or whatever device the cool kids are using in the future.
2. NaNoWriMo has a better track record than I do.
Number of years NaNoWriMo has been in business = 12
Number of novels I've produced in the past 12 years = 0
3. I have a workable idea for a short book.
What I have in mind isn't particularly innovative or grandiose. But it's intriguing and unusual and fits within the parameters of existing marketing categories. It's not like I'm striving to one-up Nabokov's "Pale Fire" over four consecutive weekends. Gotta have perspective.
4. I want to have some fun.
Remember what it was like to roll a fresh sheet of 20-pound stock into a vibrating electric typewriter and let your imagination run free while your stubby little sausage-fingers struggled to keep up, so intense was the outpouring of sprightly prose? Yeah, neither do I. But there have been plenty of times when I've enjoyed the creative process, from the grubby mechanics of grammar to the endorphin high of watching plot points snap together with a satisfying 'Snik!' And I want some more of that, please.
5. The world could use a novel entitled "Squidface."
Need I say more?
So there you go, boys and girls, my plan for the month of November. It's not perfect. The month is short already, Thanksgiving is in there somewhere and I've got a kid applying to colleges right now. Whee!
But each day, I'll endeavor to post on Twitter and Facebook links to sites that I'm finding particularly inspirational or germane to the task at hand. You can follow along and imagine what I'm constructing, as well as read enticing synopses and excerpts (one hopes). I'll also post my running word-count, so that you can cheer/jeer as you see fit. Carpe deum. Que sera, sera. And all that.
Happy (*grits teeth*) NaNoWriMo!