Monday, October 31, 2011


Yep, it’s that time again. For those who don’t know (and I can’t imagine there are many these days), November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), wherein writers (published, unpublished, under-published, and wannabes alike) set a goal to write a 50,000 word novel inside 30 days. It begins tonight at midnight, and ends at midnight on November 30th.
Personally, I’ve tried this three times now. So far the best I was able to ever do was about 15,000 words. Usually, November seems to be that month that bites me in the ass with all kinds of uncontrollable distractions. I start strong, but as the month wears on, things happen, and I just cave under the pressure. To be honest, I doubt this year will be any different.

However, I am ok with this. For me it’s not about finishing the project. I am still learning the craft of writing well. So, to me the important thing is to get quality stuff on paper. Other writers have a different philosophy. Some feel that it’s important to get the words out there and polish them later. And that is perfectly fine. If it works for them, bully! But, with my writing and storytelling abilities being where they are…well, no matter how much you polish a turd, it’s still a turd.

Therefore, my personal goal is to write something that isn’t a turd. If I manage to make it to 50,000 turd-free words, that’s bonus! Otherwise, I’m usually happy with getting something started that I can chip away at in the future. Something that may only be a beginning, but in the end will turn into something good. I don’t want to be one of those writers with a hard drive full of un-publishable material. I want everything I write to be publishable. And since I am not making my living from writing, I can afford to take my time to ensure that.

The question is, what am I going to write? Normally I try to sketch out at least a basic premise and a rough outline. Usually that amounts to nothing more than a “back cover blurb” with a description of the ending tacked on. I’m not one for real outlines or long synopses. Which, as I’m sure I have stated before on this blog, may account for why I have never finished anything of novel length.

So, during my various bits of spare time today, I will brainstorm some ideas, and see if I can come up with something usable.

How many of my loyal minions out there will also be trying their hand at NaNoWriMo?


Keith said...

Good luck, Tom. I signed up yesterday to make it formal, then announced on my blog so I would have some positive peer pressure to motivate me.

David McMurdo said...

I considered this, but at the moment I'm caught up in research for my current story which I dare not stray from for any great length of time. I like the idea though. Maybe next year I'll participate. Good luck with it!

bowiefan said...

Your blog makes me want to find 50,000 ways to say "turd" now :)

Paul R. McNamee said...

I hadn't planned on it too heavily, but I have been outlining something, so I might give it a run.

If I could write everyday, for 30 days, regardless of daily wordcount concerns, it would be a habitual improvement for me.

I might aim for that, at least.

Charles Gramlich said...

They need to do this in the summer for me.

Tom Doolan said...

Yeah, I kind of always wondered why they chose November...