Things I like about this NaNoWriMo thing:
- Getting regular pep-talks from writers I read, full of chummy advice. Eldest and Middlest were very impressed when Gail Carson Levine (Ella Enchanted) sent an email to me (and over 200,000 other scribblers). And I have to admit it was rather a thrill to get a "you can do it" note from Jasper Fforde (The Eyre Affair) and to know that Tamora Pierce (Song of the Lioness) is NaNoing along with everyone else. Not to mention messages coming from two writers I deeply admire: Peter Carey (Oscar & Lucinda) and Robin McKinley (Beauty, The Blue Sword).
- Getting a system alert that says: "Microsoft Word has detected too many spelling and/or grammer errors to continue displaying them." I take it my computer doesn't think "summoners" or "bargee" or "nanties" count as real words. Sheesh - everyone's a critic!
- Writing day after day and not just at irregularly spaced intervals.
- Setting aside time to write in such a public, out-in-the-open way.
- Saying, "Those are my hours for writing," like that's a legitimate use of the day, instead of trying to sneak scribbling in between the cracks of other duties.
- Writing with the long-distance companionship of my two sisters, knowing they're sitting down, pounding out daily word counts along with me - and that they will say, when I call too early in the day, "Evil temptress, what do you mean by calling me during writing hours?"
- It's also something to look forward to months to come when my sisters and I will read each other's writing - even if we can never let anyone else lay eyes on our mss. - at least we three are safe readers for each other.
- Finishing something every day - a set number of words that gets me closer and closer to actually finishing a novel despite the usual sick rising flood of anxieties that always open up when I get past a certain point in the writing and at which I usually. Stop. Writing.
- (Realizing this is maybe why for many years I wrote poems - and maybe what was wrong with them - that I kept them short enough, shallow enough, that I could tie them up neatly and have done before having to dredge out the marshlands and face the swamp monsters.)
- Seeing something emerging out of the swamp.
- Getting excited at my own story. Even though that means it will all sicken me the next day. Because loving it, hating it, I'll still be sitting down the next day to the next page of my story.
- Putting into play fascinating oddments from years of complusive reading in archaeology, agronomy, linguistics, natural science, anthropology, history . . .
- Seeing story arcs explode and bounce away into what I thought was empty space but which is, I find, already populated and waiting to be travelled.
- The freedom to write stupid sentences without going back and polishing.
- Freedom to play and get messy.
- Freedom to be completely innacurate and giddily unaware of any fact or opinion (political, doctrinal, historical, scientific) beyond unfolding the story to myself.
- The whole uncritical Hey, just go for it! Try anything! love-and-kisses ethos which has never been part of my writing endeavors before. For example, this was the message from NaNoWriMo's mastermind for this weekend:
This Sunday is also the Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco! The OLL office currently looks like a candy bomb went off, as Julia, Elaine, and Carolyn load up goodie bags with books and gadgets, carefully pack raffle prizes in baskets, and test the pyrotechnic display we'll be setting off every time someone crosses over 50K at the event.Something about this whole rah-rah atmosphere makes me start to feel like I'm Caedmon - that Old English shepherd who, when passed the harp one night around the fire and expected to take his turn at the singing, simply opened his mouth and invented English poetry.
If you're going to be there, we can't wait to hug you. If you're not, we'll miss you, and we'll post photos of the event on the site on Monday.
Have a great, productive weekend, everyone!
- Feeling like it's merely human to make stories that might matter to other people.
- That it's not a high-anxiety points-will-be-deducted performance for which one must be officially licensed and matriculated under the auspices of Them That Know Best.
- Being able to end sentences with a preposition - even when there's no inescapable necessity to.
- And being able to start sentences (lots of sentences) with "And . . ." and also "So . . . "
- Fragments, also.
As of Friday night: 37,366 - a paltry 134 words away from being back on target.
As of Saturday: 37,564