I prepared ahead - albeit insufficiently - for November and Nanowrimo. I've had an idea for a novel for some time now and have wanted to try writing it. I have written short fiction and essays short and long for this blog, a few magazines and my students. I was ready, I felt, to extend myself...
No point in being wordy now. It will take an extreme effort of will to continue at this point.
Oh, Nanowrimo, for those unwilling to follow the link, is short for national Novel Writing Month. The organization is international now, so the name is both cumbersome and incorrect. Anyway, the goal for Nanowrimo is to type 50,000 words during the month of November. Quantity is important and quality is not. This makes sense to me as the first step is a sort of brainstorming, with the expectation of massive revisions coming afterward.
By the end of November first, I was a little behind in my word count, but not disastrously so. In the late afternoon of November second, I received word that my father-in-law had fallen from a tree -a cultivated persimmon tree, so it was particularly tall - and we spent that evening driving to the hospital and visiting with him. Still, I could catch up. However, we made plans while at the hospital to work at the farm all weekend to help the family catch up on their work.
I've enjoyed even this half-assed attempt at Nanowrimo and see real value in it. I hope that I can get it together and continue working on my novel even if I don't reach 50,000 words.
If you think the idea of thousands of amateurs trying to write novels in November is crazy, you aren't alone. Laura Miller, at Salon, feels the same way and salutes the reader.
Consider turning away from the self-aggrandizing frenzy of NaNoWriMo and embracing the quieter triumph of Kalen Landow and Melissa Klug's "10/10/10" challenge: These two women read 10 book in 10 categories between Jan. 1 and Oct. 10, focusing on genres outside their habitual favorites. In her victory-lap blog post, Klug writes of discovering new favorite authors she might otherwise never have encountered, and of her sadness on being reminded that "most Americans don't read ANY books in a given year, or just one or two." Instead of locking herself up in a room to crank out 50,000 words of crap, she learned new things and "expanded my reading world." So let me be the first to say it: Melissa and Kalen, you are the heroes.