Here It Comes Again

National Novel Writing Month is about to start, and as of right now almost 185,000 writers have confirmed they will attempt the feat of cranking out a novel of at least 50,000 words in November. By Friday, that number will rise considerably, and many that make the effort will attain the goal.

So that’s an average of just over 1,666 words per day. Is it fair to call that art? I say yes. For me it is one step in a process–the essential step of completing a first draft. Not all of my first drafts are created at that breakneck pace. But I learned quite a few years ago now that a concerted, well-paced effort is effective for setting aside the stalling tactics of my own indecision and over-analyzing as I go. It’s called the internal editor. And it doesn’t have time to interfere if I’m actually slamming thousands of words out per week in my spare time.

Are they good drafts? Some of them aren’t too bad. But that doesn’t matter. There’s a lot of good in each effort and I’m prepared to  spend months rewriting to reach something anyone else is going to care to read. The second and third drafts can be darned good, and I learn an awful lot about what I want to say in the throws of that first draft.

Exile's End 3This year I think I’ll try Exile’s End, which has been rattling around in my head long enough to be enrolled in grade school by now. It’s time to see what these characters are really made of.

It might not be for everyone. I don’t really know. But NaNoWriMo works for me, and if you haven’t tried it, I recommend you give it a shot. It’s free–at least in terms of whether you pay money (you will pay dearly in terms of time)–and you might surprise yourself.

For more information about NaNoWriMo, visit its site, or simply search the term. There are lots of folks writing about it as the month looms. And if you do take the plunge, fall in love with your characters, become engrossed in their circumstances, worry about their perilous future.

In other words, have fun.

This entry was posted in NaNoWriMo, Work in Progress, Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Here It Comes Again

  1. Lori Lesko says:

    Totally disagree, I don’t like art being a contest. What if you’re physically challenged or have other problems? I get my best ideas when I breath and take a day off. Resting is when the brain relaxes and gets more creative. When you’re putting pressure on yourself to be a robot, that will never produce anything but a ton of re-writes. Just my opinion.

    • J. C. Conway says:

      Lori: Thanks for sharing. I understand and don’t disagree. What works for one can be a disaster for another. This works for me. My career and family life are demanding on my time. I don’t get days off and time management is a real challenge. Timing systems like this help motivate me to carve out a little more time. And in my case, it’s not a pressure cooker. It actually relaxes me. And it’s fun when you know others that are doing the same thing. We encourage each other. Winning the contest isn’t the point for me. It’s setting aside the internal editor to let my imagination flow. You are also right about revisions — the first draft isn’t submittable.
      I admire your approach and your love of the craft is clear. I’d like to read your work.

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