NaNoWriMos are hearty souls, and somewhat insane. Tomorrow the madness begins for 2012. November is National Novel Writing Month — a month where crazy folks around the globe set a deranged goal of writing a 50,000 word novel in one month! That’s 1,667 words per day for all 30 days of the month. The truly astounding thing is that so many people win NaNo each year, which means they met their goal of writing 50k words during November. The one time I participated I did win; I wrote 50,068 or some such nonsense — it was really close. And honestly, that draft was really bad, and I’ve never parsed it out into what’s salvageable and what was complete crap. I bet I’d find 20k words I could keep.
This story isn’t to disparage the worthy goal of NaNo, which is largely to encourage folks who have always SAID they want to write a novel to consider what it takes and then just sit down and DO IT! That’s great. And they’re quite a supportive crew, and do their best to connect you with local folks working on similar goals. If you use it to build community or find a critique partner, that could have a real long-term impact on your productivity. Not to mention it can just make us writers happier to know others are out there pounding their keyboards with the same ferocity. If you let it (which I don’t) writing can be a lonely venture. Not so with NaNo, or with ROW80 for that matter.
But here’s the deal: I’m on board with the writing gig (there’s no escaping now…bwahahaha!). At this point my goals have to be ones that are accomplishable day to day and fit with my current lifestyle. It’s unreasonable to expect 50k words out of myself in one month’s time, not with a nearly full-time job and two small daughters. That’s why I love the flexibility of ROW80. Yet the years I haven’t participated in NaNo I’ve still felt the urge, because there’s a plethora of positive writing vibes swirling in the winds during November.
I’m going to make a radical switch of topic, but I swear they’ll dovetail in a moment. My last update I mentioned that I’d written the first scene in the second Foulweather Twins book. Well…it wasn’t the book I planned to write next. I’d been planning to tackle the fifth and final novella in my paranormal romance series starting in November. But a good friend pointed out that I already have books three and four drafted for that series, they’re in my editing queue, so there’s more on the way soon for those readers. She is one of the beta readers for Queen Witch, and she wants the next book in the Foulweather Twins series NOW! I know waiting for next installments is frustrating, and people aren’t going to want to wait forever for the Queen Witch sequel. And writing that first scene was really fun — it felt great!
So, I’m going to start writing what I anticipate to be a 50k word novel in November. But I am NOT, I repeat NOT, setting a goal to write all 50k words in November. I bet I’ll finish writing the first draft in January, since December can be pretty sketchy around holiday plans. And there are two family birthdays, and Thanksgiving during November. Plus a possible application process for a promotion at work (like how I slipped that in?). Plus I’m publishing Queen Witch in November. So, if I end November with 15-20k words of Chaos Calling (Foulweather Twins, Book Two) written, I will be super happy.
If any of you are wondering, “J.R., are you prepared for this sudden switch? Will you flounder without a plan amidst the sea of possibilities, drowning in lost time as the month flows by?” My answer? No way! I’ve had an outline for this book sitting for the past six months, just waiting for me to get back to it. Since I wrote that first scene on Sunday, I’ve been tweaking it here and there. Last night as I filled it in some more I started to get the itch, so I know I’m ready.
Yay! It’s going to be a really fun book!! And writing the sequel as I release the first book will be exciting. I’m ready to write something new, my hands and brain are itching with it — as I know a lot of other writers are feeling today, braced at the starting line — and it’s going to be FUN! My daily goal is 500 words, which would result in 15k by the end of November.
To those of you hearty (insane) souls doing NaNo, you know I mean it in the most good natured of ways — good luck to you! I’m sending the best of my productivity and positivity vibes this month. You’re an inspiration! Time to rock it!