As if I didn’t keep myself busy enough, I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo (which for those that don’t know, is a writing “contest” in which you write 50,000+ words during the month of November). Actually, I signed up two weeks ago, just keep forgetting to write about it. This will be my first time taking part and I’m super excited. Can’t wait until November 1 so I can start noveling up in earnest!
Ever since I picked up writing last year, I’ve been contemplating writing a novel in addition to my shorter works of non-fiction. My attention span easily flickers from interest to interest so I know that if I want to get this done I need to put the pressure on and give myself a time limit. So I guess that’s where NaNoWriMo comes in.
According to the guidelines – which I found a few months ago when I started looking into signing up, but for whatever reason can’t find now – outlining, planning, and any preparation other than actually starting to write the novel are allowed. Good thing, for I have been obsessing over novel ideas (plots, characters, settings, plot holes) in my head for the last few months and have finally started outlining during this past month. Don’t worry, I won’t count any of my outline words towards the final word count. When you cheat you’re only cheating yourself – and it’s not like you win a cash prize or anything anyway.
Stories come relatively easy to me. As a child, I had several different narratives going through my head which would develop into epically long tales. While playing outside I would basically come up with a story to keep myself entertained and when I packed up my ball and went inside I would save the part where I left off for the next day. Then I would continue, unless I grew bored with it and switched to one of my other stories. All of them independent from each other, featuring different characters and even taking time in different time periods. If I didn’t like the way the plot was going I would backtrack and change it up, killing off characters, creating new ones, and generally coming up with wild scenarios. I suppose I was a very creative child – it’s a shame my creativity was not nurtured. Perhaps I’d already be a novelist, but better late than never, right?
I never wrote down any of my stories. This was in the early 90’s, when not everyone – or even every household – had their own computer and the idea of writing them out by hand made me feel incredibly lazy. These stories were long, sometimes going years at a time.
But it wasn’t just laziness. It was also concerns of privacy. During junior high I started writing poetry. Just the typical teenage angst stuff, nothing too good (I may be a storyteller, but unfortunately I’m no poet. At least not intentionally). Well, long story short, my parents found my attempts at poetry (while rummaging through my backpack – traumatic!) and I found myself in a psychologist’s office. They claimed my poems showed that I was “depressed” and needed help. After that, I felt betrayed by writing. It wasn’t until last year – and my own password-protected laptop – that I considered putting my thoughts on paper again.
While I’ve now written 100s of thousands of words, between my two blogs and my private ramblings, essays, and short stories on my computer, if I pull this off it will be the longest I’ve written about a single subject (you know, besides myself).
So if my blog posts degenerate to grammatically incorrect bullet points or sentence fragments during the next month now you’ll know why. Of course, I will try my hardest to not let that happen; time management goes a long way.
If anyone would like to stalk me over at NaNoWriMo, to find out the latest happenings of my novel, my user name is flowergirlkit (all one word).