Getting ready for NaNoWriMo

I never thought I would do it. I'm signing up for National Novel Writing Month, a commitment to write 50,000 words in the month of November, alone yet alongside "hundreds of thousands" of people all over the world. It's free. There are no prizes, just if you finish, you can call yourself a "winner." The website states that it is a "non-profit institution that provides tools, structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve their goals, and build new worlds." This group was founded by Chris Baty in 1999, and continues under the Executive Director helm of Grant Faulkner, also a co-founder of 100 Word Story.

Baty wrote a helpful book, No Plot? No Problem! Revised and Expanded Edition: A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days that is both pep talk and strategy for tackling the project. He suggests thinking about the kinds of books you like to read, and one interesting recommendation is to find a book that inspires you and keep it by you as you write. You can pore over Baty's book or skim it and still learn. (When read aloud, that last sentence sounds like a milk product.)  I particularly like that he stresses "quantity, not quality" and explains that this is a way to generate all kinds of ideas, explore different parts of you that you might not have access to in a regular writing practice. You have to push through hard times, let go, leave your judgment behind. I don't expect to get a polished novel out of this, but I am curious what I can learn. And if I can finish. In any case, it should yield at least something I can use.

I also know from past projects that I don't like other people's rules, I'm not a go-with-the-group person, and I don't like setting myself up like this. On the other hand, I just came off of a year-long project and didn't think I would or could have done that, either. And having a deadline does yield results!

Let's see, that's 20 days at 2500 words/day (weekends and Thanksgiving off), or 24 days at 2083 wpd (Saturdays and Thanksgiving off). Probably a couple of hours each day. Could be divided up. Focussed time on the computer, not messing around. Although there is a cool video of an octopus changing color while sleeping, perhaps dreaming, here…nope, nope, nope.

October is gathering month, much like I gather supplies for an art project. A collage! I'm gathering characters, settings, little moments, scenes, interactions, overheard conversations, what I learned on the Internet. I have a vague idea for a narrative arc, or a narrative curb, as I tend to call my plots, which are low. I give myself permission to write short stories that connect, or whatever happens, just let it flow. I'll continue the collection daily as I write.

Join me? There's still time to sign up here.