Marathon Writer

Okay, call me crazy because I certainly am, but I’m going to do it. I’m going to write a novel in one month (50,000 words or more requirement). No way, that’s crazy talk, right? Right. But we all know life comes with a side of crazy.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and a few days ago I registered for this event, so there’s no turning back now. Last year, over 200,000 writers participated and only 30,000 of them actually finished by November 30th. The goal is to start your novel on November 1 and have a completed first-draft by midnight on November 30th.

For years I wouldn’t join because I was a chicken, or as we call it here in my house, a bawk bawk bawk (the sound a chicken makes). Whenever someone in my house is afraid of something; like me afraid of spiders, or my husband running from snakes in the backyard, or the kids screaming about bees, we’re always saying to each other, “Stop being a bawk, bawk, bawk.”

But now I’ve decided to face the challenge head on because I’ve already written a novel (read an excerpt from it here), and I’m currently trying to finish another (it’s been a thorn in my side for several, several months). So what better way to continue the insanity than by starting a whole new novel—from scratch—during NaNoWriMo. On average, it takes an author six months to a year to write a book. That’s about how long it takes me (the year part).

So, yes, come November 1, 2011, I’m running the writer’s marathon. My purpose for doing so is simple: challenge myself to go beyond what I think I can do; build a workable first-draft in a month; and to write, non-stop, without obsessing over quality. With NaNoWriMo it’s not about quality, it’s about quantity. It’s about running a race and making it to the finish line. The quality comes later when the event is over and the critiques, editing, and rewrites begin. That’s when you turn your quantity into a quality piece of writing. And yes, I may fail miserably, but I also might succeed.

Wish me well. I’ll need it—that, and a whole lot of therapy. And by now, you should know my kind of therapy (see blog post Dazed and Confused).

Photo by Renjith Krishnan