Nov 022007

It’s that month again. National Novel Writing Month.


And I will be participating. I already did it last year, and so I have a feeling that it is do-able. I’m a hopeless optimist and so I’m convinced that of course this year I will be very disciplined, I will write 2,000 words every day without fail, in the morning.

Well, yes, I find that funny too. My husband? Not so much. You have to remember that I didn’t only do NaNoWriMo last year but also FAWM (February Album Writing Month), and Script Frenzy. And while I do have a note from Script Frenzy that entitles me to an open-ended sabbatical from all housework, really, that would be a little too much to ask of my husband. Especially since he teaches much more students than me, and does more housework too. (And has a blog or two and music to make.)

So, there has been a bit of a debate going on whether it is a good thing for me to write a novel in a month again. I was all committed though I start to regret it already. I have had great plans of writing thousands of words in the first few days and so far I have been struggling to write anything. See, that is so typical of me. Instead of being proud that I wrote 3,790 words of my new novel, I’m disappointed because I had wanted to write 6,000 words until today. Which was a bit of a silly plan because while we have vacation again there also is no kindergarten. No kindergarten means less productivity. Add to that my attempt to do housework, and a major procrastination tendency… And you end up with enough words to write 50,000 in November but not enough to be ahead.

Also I’m not caring about my characters much. This year I’m writing about a 40-year-old mother in midlife crisis. There are definite resemblances to me but she isn’t me. Not at all. I decided that after last years drama with aliens and psychics and teleportation, and my screen play about evil witches killing off female drummers, this year I’d write something real. Maybe even with feelings. Who knows.

Of course I had planned to prepare myself. Last year I prepared food in advance, I bought all Christmas presents, the only thing I didn’t do was an outline or any character planning. I meant to but I never did. Well, this year I prepared nothing since all that preparation last year only mad October more stressful but didn’t help much for November.

The only thing I definitely wanted to do this year was thinking about my novel in advance. Maybe even outlining it. But I couldn’t. I wrote to Sofia about it:

For my next book, I will be making an outline and Susanne , a toytown writer, doesn’t know if she could use an outline… but the thing is she uses an outline for everything else why not her writing. she uses one everyday and her writing should not be any different. For each thing she sews and knits there is a pattern and even though she may not follow it, the pattern allows her to see where she is going.

That made me think (I know it doesn’t take much for that). She is right. I’m using outlines and patterns and such all the time. Even in music I play songs that already exist. But there is a difference, at least for me: knitting and sewing and cooking all start with a vision of the finished product. I see that in my mind and then I think about how to create it. Writing to me is more like musical improvisation. I just start singing somewhere and see where it takes me. I repeat things, I do something new, it shapes itself as I do it. I’m not much interested right now in telling a story I already know. And my reluctance to outline has to do with the structure of NaNoWriMo too.

You’re not supposed to write parts of the novel before November. The whole thing has to be written in those 30 days. Otherwise it would be cheating. If I were to start writing about my characters or an outline or something, I’d end up writing parts of the novel before starting. So I need to write about the characters and the novel to find out about them and, well, there you are.

Of course that’s quite exciting. I don’t know anything about my story yet. Well, not much. The only thing that I’m ding this time around is end the writing day by starting a new chapter and writing a synopsis of it on top. Like, “Chapter two, in which Iris gets a new job and makes a list.” That is my starting point for the next day.

Oh, and this year I’m writing in English. Which means that I have to have my browser open all the time to look up words. Ahem. Very productive. But still I’m afraid I won’t be able to comment and read as much as usual. Those 2,000 words a day have to come out of somewhere.

Are any of you doing NaNo too? Or NaBloPoMo? National shoe-whatever? Naknitalong (there is something called NaKniSweMo on ravelry, but I am not on ravelry so I can’t tell you about it)? National drawing? Or are you level-headed like my husband and don’t partake in silly competitions?