Monday, December 12, 2011

NaNoWriMo: How About You?

November was a crazy month that included a lingering sinus infection, a major multi-day holiday, a friend's wedding, weird weather and my attempt at writing a novel.

Guess which one I liked the most? (No, you wise acres, not the sinus infection!)

National Novel Writing Month was an experience that reinforced what most productive writers understand: don't wait for "inspiration" — create it.  Every day, as I sit at the computer for work, I dredge up material for the assorted projects. Not everything that comes out of my brain and fingers is award-winning.  Some days are better than others. Some days I'm on fire and others I just show up and type materials that are "good enough." Some days the words are stellar and others it's just enough to get the job done.

The difference between a good day and a bad day: on a bad day, I don't even show up.  And that, my friends, is the definition of failure.

I'm not saying every bit of junk we produce needs to see the light of day.  In fact, I don't intend to show my "novel" to more than one or two souls.  However, I followed the objectives of the project established by NaNoWriMo and managed to succeed. I created a document totaling 50, 202 words between November 1-30.

Why?

Well, why not?

On November 1, I scratched my head and wondered exactly what in the world I was going to write — until I remembered: The Foreigner!  Well, I didn't remember it by name, but I remembered the play description. The play is about a shy man who pretends to not know English on a cruise full of English-speaking people.  What other situations can create opportunities for people to share information, confess, reveal or otherwise communicate?

I came up with one. It involved The Cowboy.

Not every word was stellar.  In fact, much of it probably was contrived, and possibly impossible to read.  The chapters that feature The Cowboy, however, were ingenious, if I dare say so myself.  There may be a story in there somewhere, or bits of one, or even a short story that can be edited and re-purposed.  Maybe. I won't make any promises.  I wrote many, many pages of words, and some of those words (beyond articles and conjunctions) may be of use at some point in the future. But really, I don't care. What I do care is that I know I can do something like that, possibly even better, in the future. All it takes is the precious commodity of time — which, for the story burning in me is a small price to pay.

Thanks, NaNoWriMo.  If I can pull it off again next year, maybe I'll even come up with a story and outline in October.

And the rest of you: what are you waiting for? You can wait until next November — or you can start now to warm up for the next one. I think I'll choose the latter.  Let me know which you choose.

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