I first wrote this post on October 29, 2009, when I was about to embark on my second attempt to write a novel in a month as part of National Novel Writing Month. I repeated it on October 31, 2014, when I wrote a third novel. It’s clearly a pattern that every five years I write a novel (none of which have barely been re-read, let alone published), so I’m gearing up for my fourth attempt, starting next week.
If you’re intrigued by the prospect, I encourage you to listen to Episode 72 of our podcast, Getting to Good Enough, in which Shannon and I discuss how we’ll both be writing a novel this year. We’re inviting listeners to join us and discuss the process on the Getting to Good Enough Facebook Group where we hope to provide mutual support. Please join us! This is a fun challenge and I’m really looking forward to it!
National Novel Writing Month is about to start and I’m on board. NaNoWriMo is a worldwide event where people commit to writing a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. (As a point of reference, Catcher in the Rye is about 50,000 words.)
I did it back in 2004, just to see if I could. That year, I wasn’t part of the online community, because I didn’t do it until December. But this year, I’m chomping at the bit to start on November 1 like everybody else.
Why am I doing it? It’s not for that challenge, since I know I can do it. This year, I just think writing a novel sounds like fun. And if I can get a crappy first draft written in November, I’ll have something to work with.
I’ve been on a binge of reading books by Jeffery Deaver. I love his books, which have great plots, great characters and are written in a clear, non-self-conscious style. I think reading his books have made me want to write one of my own.
But why in a month? I love having a deadline like this. I love the accountability. I love that by month’s end my novel will have an end. I love having a daily writing quota and knowing I’ve achieved my goal for the day.
I’ll have a victory on a daily basis. It’s a great example of breaking a big project down into small tasks and working at it on daily. It’s a great use of Mark Forster’s concept of little and often.
When I wrote my first novel (which, incidentally, I’ve read only once), I wore a special hat and wrote in a room where I didn’t usually write. (At the time, I was a professional writer.) This time, I’m knitting a special scarf that I plan to wear when I’m working on my novel, just to put me in the mood. I intend to write early in the morning, first thing, even if it means getting up extra early. I haven’t decided where I’ll do the writing, but chances are good it’ll be at my desk.
You can expect some updates here through the month of November. If you’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo, leave me a comment or an email and let me know your registered name on the site. (I’m janinea.) I’ll make you my writing buddy!