Last year, I spent the entire month of November the same way thousands of others did throughout the world: plugging away at a novel for National Novel Writing Month (see NaNaWriMo’s site for details) in the hope of meeting my 50,000 word goal.
Well, I did it. I met the goal. Does that mean I have a novel now?
What I do have is 50,000+ words of a very rough, unfinished first draft that bored me to tears halfway through writing it. The hard copy printout has been gathering dust in my desk drawer ever since, the digital copy long since lost to hard drive errors. I doubt that I ever revisit that project again.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m glad for the experience. Forcing myself to sit down and write creatively every day last November regardless of my mood or whether it even came easily was a good experience for what I do online these days. I can’t remember the last time I had “writer’s block,” come to think of it. NaNoWriMo taught me that the real trick to writing is quite simple: write.
Glancing back over the blog(s) for the past year, I can see I’ve definitely mastered that trick. These days, my brain begins blogging right about the time my feet hit the floor in the morning — sometimes I even mentally compose entries while brushing my teeth.
But I still don’t have a novel, do I?
Oh, I’ve got plenty of ideas for one, though. There’s a fantasy story I’ve been writing in my head nightly for some time now, a movie of sorts that I play in my mind while I try falling asleep. (The fact that I do fall asleep while telling myself that story might be one reason I’ve yet to find the incentive to actually write the thing out.) There’s another I came up with over the summer as I sat in traffic court listening to a man’s convoluted — and ultimately unbelievable — sob story. A real “who done it”, that one.
I don’t really have time to think of writing a novel these days, now that I’m actually trying to make money writing online. (Read more about that at my latest site, Blogging for the Money.
So, I’m not sure that I’ll be participating in NaNoWriMo this year. I can’t figure out how I’d squeeze in that commitment on top of my other obligations while still earning a living… unless I could hire someone to do it for me. But, somehow, I’m pretty sure that’s against the rules.