Monday, November 9, 2009

Twelve Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety Six Words and Counting

That's right. 12,696 words. I've counted every last one of them and can hardly believe it myself. I've just completed the first week of the National Write a Novel Month exercise and am loving it. My goal is 1666 words a day and I'm really amazed at how easy it is to accomplish -- even having a full time job and doing all the other things I enjoy doing. I don't claim to be writing anything I'd care to show anybody, but the exercise in speed writing is invaluable even if the actually manuscript isn't.

The freedom of not having the time to edit, or think, unable to even take the time to ponder the perfect name for a character, has brought the fun back to writing for me. It's turned into a personal quest as I move forward each day, not looking back, not knowing quite what I'll find around the next corner. I'm not even sure which genre I'm writing. There was a dead body on the first page, but now there seems to be a romance heating up between my heroine and some doctor that showed up around the 10,000 word mark. And I don't care. I'm enjoying the journey. I'll follow it, wherever it should lead.

The part I didn't expect from this month long exercise, was how it is flowing into other things in my life. Maybe it's the sense of accomplishment I feel each day as I get my minimum daily word goal completed. Or maybe it's just the energy spilling over, but I'm not only writing, I'm cleaning, organizing and exercising. Anyone who knows me will tell you these are rare moments indeed. Next thing you know I may be opening a cookbook! Look out Martha Stewart!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

National Novel Writing Month

Today officially began National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWrNo (nano nano, anyone?). What is it? A challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Thousands of people across the world have signed up for the challenge. Will they all make it? Doubtful. Is it worth it? Hmmmm. I wasn't really sure until today.

I signed up for the challenge last week. I've always wanted to do it and this was the year. Up until this afternoon, though, I wasn't sure I was going to follow though. It's not like I don't have enough taking up my time this month -- or any month for that matter. And I've never been that ambitious writer who's willing to sacrifice everything for the craft. I have kids, I have a grandchild, I have an elderly mother, I foster animals for a pet rescue group, I bead, and I have tons of housework I've been avoiding for ages and I have two novels in the works. So, the challenge to write a novel in a month's time didn't seem like something I really needed right now. But would anytime be the right time?

I wasn't even sure I was going to make the attempt until I started writing at 2:30 this afternoon. 1753 words later, I'm still dazed. I hadn't expected the words to flow as they did. I hadn't expected the ideas to flow.

When I sat down at the computer, I had only a vague idea of what I wanted to do. No plot, no research, I was writing cold. The challenge of finishing a novel in a month forces me to keep moving forward. There's no time for editing, for refining, or for looking up the perfect word. I couldn't even spend time figuring out the names of my characters. One of them is named after my TV set, another after my favorite Muppets character. I grabbed whatever came to mind and went with it.

It's incredibly freeing to spout out 53,000 words in a month's time. It's made writing fun again. It doesn't matter what I write, just that I write it. And who knows, I may just have the germ of a novel when I finish, one that's worth refining and polishing into a book I can be proud of.