(All of you checking back for the start of my series on specialty retail tips I promise you, it is coming. Every time I sit down to write about, I realize there is more and more I need to cover to be truly thorough. Honestly, I could write a book on the subject. Maybe someday I will. For now, I’m just going to geek out over writing books.)
Nanowrimo kicks off in just under two weeks, and I couldn’t be more stoked. I haven’t been writing regularly since I finished the latest draft last year’s Nano project at the end of September, and I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve been reading like crazy, tinkering with the novel project, working on blog stuff, but really, I have been counting down the days to when I can sit down and lose myself in a new project.
At this point, most blog posts I’ve read celebrating the imminence of November usually give tips about prepping your story and how to develop your characters. All that’s well and good, but it’s not how I do things. I can’t outline shit. Never could, not even a term paper. I’m a total pantser. Writing for me is about sitting down and doing it. I discover my plot and my characters along the way. I’m totally one of those writers who talks about their characters like they are real people instead of figments of my imagination. Which means that I have no clue what sort of story I’m going to be writing come November 1st, because I don’t even know if my main character is a man or a woman. A criminal or a saint. A vagabond or a homebody. But I am itching to find out.
With nothing more than a starting sentence and a vague notion that it would be fun if there was a brothel and possibly some time travel, I have no idea where my story is going. I’m not giving myself any rules to follow. The project I’ve been working on for the past year was set in present-day in my home town. It should be no surprise, that for this new project, I have no clue, though I might pull a Harlan Ellison and call every place Topeka. It might be a cattle town in the past, or an outpost in the future. I’m sure I’ll know for sure by November 2nd or 3rd.
Do I sound crazy?
Once upon a time I used to think Nanowrimo was a little crazy. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days was insurmountable. Especially without a plan. I was lucky to get a couple hundred words out each day between work and kids and having no time to settle down and think about a story.
But then last year, I sat down and I did it.
That’s all it took. Sitting down and committing to getting 1667 words on the page each day.
They weren’t good words. I’ve changed most of them in the ensuing ten months, but it doesn’t matter. Out of those 50,000 words, I got a story. And I have spent most days since I finished putting just as much work into my manuscript as I did during November when I was composing my shitty first draft, and it hasn’t even been a sacrifice.
Join me this year! Do the insurmountable! Be my writing buddy! I’m tinydino. Find me! Keep track of my progress! (And if you’re curious enough, you might be able to find an excerpt from the (revised) first chapter of the novel from last year.)