Thursday, September 1, 2011

Write a Novel in One Month - Sure, Why Not?

So I decided to participate in this year’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). For those of you who don’t know, this is an event in which crazy people from all over the world try to write a fifty-thousand word novel in ONE month. Yeah. That’s about 3 pages a day. My wife approached me with this idea about two months ago, but for one reason or another we passed. We wanted to do it with a few other friends who were busy having babies and stuff like that.

We decided to wait for a better time and a fellow poker-player/blogger friend (Hi @PokerLawyer!) said she was going to do it and I got all excited about it again. I checked the website for the project, read all about it and fell in love with the concept. I have always wanted to write a novel, but I am a little too good at finding excuses not to. Not this time. I will give it an honest shot, and to prepare for it I’ll be writing a blog almost every day in September and October. 
  
I guess I’ll be writing more about me and about where I come from. I will be discussing more about my philosophical views and some anecdotes. I’ll write about my weekends and fun escapades and you will love them all! 
    
I’ve always loved to write. I did poems when I was a kid, prose in high school, and short stories in college. I was recruited as an editor for a literary magazine early in the decade and later as a writer for a newspaper. I have had such a good time all along. I got into blogging a bit, and even though I haven’t been as consistent with it I enjoy it thoroughly and want to do it a lot more. I do some writing for work, but it is mostly technical stuff so my artistic/contemplative side needs to be nourished in my own time. 
   
As much as I enjoy all kinds of writing, I do have a certain preference for literary fiction. I think this genre synthesizes all others in a beautiful way. You can write as poetically as you want, or with a sort of journalistic style with a literary twist. You can mess with form and rhythm to make each composition as artistic or as straightforward as you want it to be. And I think this is a lot of power. I think writers don’t realize the power they have in their hands, and those that do are the ones who excel and create masterpieces.

Writing and other forms of art are restrained by their own means, but within their own limitations the options can be endless. I don’t want to convolute my point, but what I am saying is this: a painter can only work within the confines of his canvas and his material, a musician can only work with the notes that each instrument can hit, or a sculptor has to work with his tools and with the malleability of his material. Yet, the varieties of the final products each one of these artists can come up with are infinite. The options are limitless. Same thing for writers, the number of possible compositions is impossible to obtain.

The interesting thing about writers is that in a way, the canvas we work with is people’s imagination. We can compose a piece and our diction will paint images in an individual’s mind. And what’s even more, each individual will have the opportunity to create its own ideas from what they read, and not only that they will have the opportunity to assign it some meaning and it can lead to a change in their lives. Pretty powerful stuff.

Thinking about it, makes me wonder how many revolutionaries and leaders were inspired by something they read? How many people have been motivated in one way or another by reading a compelling poem or eloquent prose? How many will be inspired by something you write? I for one find this very exciting. Anyways, thank you for coming along. I am enjoying this blog a little more everyday and I really appreciate you taking the time to stop by and reading it. 

This blog is roughly 730 words and for NaNoWriMo I need to do around 1700 every day. 

Oh boy. 

This is going to be interesting.

14 comments:

  1. I just finished my first Camp NaNo. Went in blind with no ideas or strategy. Got WAY behind and came back in 8 days to write 26k words. Don't get behind for the love of all that is holy. I got blister fingers and crack-like insomnia chasing this dragon. See? I'm still up at 2:30 AM talking about it. Seriously, though, it was the best thing I ever did. I'll be rooting for ya!

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  2. I enjoyed reading your blog. I'll be doing NaNoWriMo this year as well. I'll try to keep tabs on ya! I'm working a couple of concepts right now to see which way I want to go come November 1! Looking forward to reading more of your blogs.

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  3. Nice to meet you on twitter and welcome to NaNoWriMo. I found out about it in October last year and spent the month reading how to books and frantically preparing and I made it! That novel has now been edited twice and is currently away getting a professional assessment, so in about 4 weeks when that comes back I'll know what I have to do to improve. Be prepared for long nights, sore wrists, weariness and what promises to be an amazing and worthwhile experience. I am even more excited about it the second time around.

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  4. If it's your first year, highly recommend No Plot, No Problem. Lots of good writing advice in general but especially good advice for getting through the challenge with your sanity intact.

    Best of luck with it!

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  5. Hi there,

    This is my first time participating as well. I've never thought of myself as a writer..mainly because I felt I didn't have the talent so many others did. But I love to read and write..poetry, lyrics, essays..pretty much anything. I've always received high grades on written papers, but I consider that technical writing rather than real writing- the type, as you say, moves people. Anyway, I like reading your tweets. They either make me think or give me a chuckle. And this blog is fantastic. Very real and very well written. I can't wait to see more of your stuff in NaNoWriMo!

    ~A Bitter Woman

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  6. I did NaNoWriMo last year... in the middle of midterms my senior year of college. I never met the suggested pace until I finished. After midterms I had 25k on Nov. 25th. I finished at 50,533 with 4 hours to spare. The trick? All nighters and a good balance between coffee and bourbon.

    Still debating whether to do it again this year. If I do, I'll probably try harder to keep pace throughout the month.

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  7. I *love* it! And look at all these great comments. So awesome. This post is like a song - you're going to do great.

    I'm glad we're doing it together!

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  8. Good luck with NaNoWriMo- it is possible, just go nuts from day one and forget that you have a delete button, and if a character isn't working out? Kill them, introduce their evil/good twin.

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  9. Thank you everyone for your kind words and comments! I will take every piece of advice I can get from all of you who have done this in the past and from everyone else who is doing NaNoWriMo this year. I am convinced that it is going to be a great experience, as it is I am already overwhelmed by the amount of unity and support within this community.
    Feel free to leave me links to your blogs to check them out and contribute with whatever little or much I can. For now, let’s rock it and do our best!

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  10. Good luck! I completed NaNo last year, and I'm already itching for November 1st to roll around. I really caught the bug last year, and the most valuable thing I learned was the habit of writing. Even if I don't feel like it when I wake up, it's rare that a day passes where I haven't written down at least 1000 words now.

    My best advice would be just to keep going. Don't fall behind or agonise over what you've written - this is a first draft after all, and it's as much about learning HOW to write as what you're putting down on paper.

    Kate x

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  11. It's a great experience! Just make sure you don't edit yourself and keep pushing forward no matter what! Your goal is to write THE END at the end of it all! I just did Camp NaNoWriMo and it was a blast - so many people on Twitter doing wordsprints to help each other get motivated to jump the word counts! Something to remember in November!

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  12. I did my first NaNoWriMo last year, and I can't tell you what a rush it is to finish. I underestimated what a serious challenge this is. The idea isn't to crank out a novel, it's to crank out words. Ignore the editing and move ahead.

    The best thing I can do to prep for this year, is get a bunch of ideas down. Chapter titles, character profiles, and short ideas that can jump start the process later, while you stare at blank screens. Best of luck, and I'll see you at the finish line!

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  13. Sorry.. I had not checked my personal Twitter feed in some time and only just saw this :D Good luck! Hope you had a great first day! I did. I managed 1674. I could have done better, but was busy with other things and did not work on the novel as much as I wanted to. Then again, didn't get a lot of other things done either :D Still a lot of time though.


    Good luck, and I'll see you at the finish line!

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