For the longest time, I wanted to write a book. My “bucket list” evolved over my teenage years and adulthood, but this item stayed constant. Eventually, I removed it, for two reasons. I didn’t feel I had material worth writing about and even if I did, my prose would fall short.
This year, I finally had an idea for a story worth telling. The smallest seed for it was planted a few years ago, as a book someone should write. I kept turning the idea over, growing it slowly. Then I had a breakthrough this summer during a chat with my ten-year-old – we settled on the main character’s quest and her path to victory. The plot is genuinely compelling (in my eyes) and while it’s not my personal story, it’s a mix of settings that I have a bit of familiarity with.
Soon I had my eye on National Novel Writing Month, “NaNoWriMo,” which begins in a month. The timing was great: I could sit with my story in September and October and see whether I lose interest or stick with it and keep plotting the story and characters. So far it’s been the latter. So I’m signed up and planning to give it my best shot! The goal is 50,000 words in 30 days. I’m not sure how long my story might get once I unspool it, but my guess is that 50k words could be enough to tell it all. I have read a few books of ~200 pages this year and it’s a nice snappy length, so that’s my current vision.
I would love to talk NaNoWriMo with others as it approaches and gets underway. Anyone out there want to take the plunge with me this year? Everyone else: if I stick with this you might see less from me as I put my extra energy into the book.
I’m still not sure my writing will be any good – I’m a rank amateur. But I’ll have fun telling the story I’ve dreamt up so even if the result is lousy, I’ll have enjoyed myself and the experience of taking on this challenge. And I can check it off my list.
The biggest challenge I foresee right now is not editing. The idea with NaNoWriMo is to pump out a draft as fast as possible and hit the word count. Then you go back and edit it in future months. When I write here and professionally, I spend more time editing (on the fly and afterward) than I do writing. I’m not sure it always improves my writing, and it slows my blogging down considerably. So perhaps if I can embrace the NaNoWriMo mode of write-without-editing, it’ll lead to more blog posts in the future. Time for me to stop re-reading and publish this post!