National Novel Writing Month GAHHHHH!!!!

Every year, my friends and I talk about signing up to write a 50,000 word-minimum novel as part of National Novel Writing Month. A novel each, I suppose, though I've floated the idea of writing a collaborative novel as well. Didn't float long; I don't think anyone actually trusts anyone else to have the same vision. But what HAS stopped me personally from writing one? Let me count the ways:

1. I don't know that a novel written in a month would be any good. Maybe as a draft you'd then refine over the rest of the year, but then that's even bigger investment.

2. It's in November?! I'm not saying it's my busiest month, but it's just 30 days!!! I should be happy they didn't pick February, I suppose!

3. All kidding aside, I think my biggest problem is that I have too much writing to do to find any time to write. I'm all tied up in over-blogging, those fan-made Doctor Who RPG manuals, and squeezing in an essay or maybe a short story for standard publishing. Maybe I should just accept that my best mode of writing is the essay and leave it at that. Not everyone needs to be a novelist.

4. Then there's authorial anxiety. I've read too many great books to feel at all secure about my prose. Or my plotting, for that matter. Does everyone have a novel worth writing in them? NaNoWriMo says yes, but I'm not so sure I do. I've got ideas, sure. I have the discipline, but it's currently being used for something else. But I don't feel passionate enough about any single idea to do the research and write it. And without passion, I don't think I'd finish it. I don't even think it would be particularly good. My friends have been after me to write what I call The Great Canadian Novel, but guys, that's my clever title for a short story!

5. What would I have to sacrifice to get this done? I'm already saying no to think I want to do because I don't have the time and energy. I dare say I'd have to take the month off work - I wonder if they'd let me take half-days? - but even so, would I want to write some 1200 words a day IN ADDITION TO the blogging I don't want to give up? I might drive myself insane. Of course if I WERE to do it, I probably wouldn't be writing X number of words a day. I'd probably attempt the snowflake method, starting from an outline to a progressively more detailed and longer book.

Let's face it, NaNoWriMo is great to get you started, to force you into a writing regimen, but there's really nothing that says you HAVE to complete it before November 30th. Maybe if you're doing it as a lark, but not if you consider yourself a writer. But if you do, then what do you need a(n Inter)National Month for? You should be writing all the time. And I am. Just not anything that can be turned into a novel.

Now if I can write a great postmodern novel built out of essays about comic books and TV shows, I'll let you know...


snell said...

There's also the vast and underestimated difference between writing non-fiction and fiction. Not that you wouldn't be able to conquer it, of course. But my few plaintive stabs at writing fiction taught me that I couldn't come up with an appropriate "authorial voice." Self-assessment forces me to stick with the non-fiction...until, of course, someone offers me the Fantastic Four...

Siskoid said...

Snell understands me! Of course he does.

At the very least though I should be able to write in the dramatic mode, since improv and theater are related, but I haven't answered the call yet.

Brendoon said...

Ha, I feel ya, man.
Must say I've had writers block for a good ten years!!
Serves me right for thinking I was some kinda genius as a youngster (hey, we ALL think that. So what?). The guilty party was a lengthy bout of depression, kinda stopped the synapses firing properly. However, it finished and I'm playing guitar 10x better than before, and without a hint of ego. Maybe the writing will start up again too.

HOWEVER, coincidences and all that, years ago I picked up this book for free:
and started reading it last night.
A cool quote from the book, from some Indian philosopher:
"Life consists of small things, just your ego goes on saying these are small things. You would like some great thing to do - a great poetry. You would like to become Shakespeare or Kalidas or Milton. It is your ego that is creating the trouble. Drop the ego and everything is creative." -Osho

Kinda cool,eh?

Brendoon said...

'cept I notice that dang free book is now ten bucks for the kindle version!

Siskoid said...

I'll see your Osho and raise you some Bloom, who makes some pretty thorough arguments about ego as the driving force behind our great literature.

Brendoon said...

True 'nuff I guess ya have to have SOME stake in everything you do. Does enjoyment count as ego? I guess Thomas Hardy musta had some ego, cos' I can't see any other reason for his books to exist.

Siskoid said...

Look at the life of most authors in the Western Canon, and I bet they're all huge egos.

Brendoon said...

Like Rick Castle?


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