Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo: Again, type faster!

Hey! NaNoWriMo has started!

As previously mentioned, this year I'm being a NaNoWriMo rebel--my plan is to write and post fifty thousand words in November. That would mean a roughly 1700 word post every day. I rarely write a post that long; the initial Farm Diary post, which seemed endless, was only about nineteen hundred words.

One traditional way to achieve one's word goal in NaNoWriMo is to add a whole lot of excessive and unnecessary and numerous words that one would not otherwise under normal regular everyday circumstances use while composing and planning and writing one's NaNoWriMo prose or fiction or other sorts of writing.

See what I mean? Yeah. I hope I'm not going to do that again. I'd prefer to actually have something to say, or, if not, at least sound relatively normal while saying nothing in particular.

Another, closer to universal, NaNoWriMo strategy is to refrain from editing. Some people recommend, in fact, not even watching the words appear on the screen; they cover the screen, or close their eyes (presumably only the touch typists; sheer gibberish is going a little too far), or set their font to white on a white background. I approve of this--too many writers seem to be afraid of letting an un-edited senence exist. However, if I'm going to post my words, there is going to be some editing. Probably.

Actually, the idea of editing only for typos is interesting. I pretty much never see my raw writing after it's cooled down, because I edit it while it's still warm. (Where is this analogy going? Is it about cookies?), that's not true, because in previous NaNoWriMos I have done the "don't edit" thing, and I didn't make any exciting new discoveries about my writing.

So. Did I make it clear that the fifty thousand words won't necessarily be fiction? I'm hoping that some of them will, but vanilla nonfiction like, for example, this post, will count.

Wow. I just did the count, and this post up to this point is about three hundred words. That's slightly less than one-fifth the daily goal. This may be more of a challenge than I really thought. I suspect, now that I think about it, that rather than writing a 1700-word post every day, I'm more likely to write, oh, three 600-word posts. Or so. Because I just don't know how long I can rattle on about one topic.

Though--as I think back to why I had this crazy idea in the first place--I think that writing longer pieces was part of the point. Longer pieces, longer paragraphs, longer thoughts. Suppressing the fear of people staring at my writing with the horrified fascination usually directed at decaying roadkill, pointing at me, and shrieking, "She wants someone to take her writing seriously! That's hilarious!"

I think I've mentioned before that when I write forum posts in forum posts where I'm anonymous, I am much more likely to be serious and to rattle on at length. Probably because nobody knows me. They get to know me, as that serious long-posting entity, and sometimes they like me, and then I'm irritated at myself for concealing my identity, because I'd like to combine all the people I interact with online. But by then I've generally said a dozen or so embarassing things, on the theory that no one will ever trace them to me, so it feels like it's too late.

Hmm. Five hundred and fifty words.

Speaking of embarassing things, it'll be interesting to see if the need to fill the daily quota will inspire me to open up on a wider variety of personal issues. While I'm certainly not the kind of writer that tries to pose as a dry and formal professional, I'm also not all that big on personal confessions. Yes, yes, I haven't shown all that much discretion when it comes to my relationship with my mother, but that seems to be an exception.

So are my rules for this rebellion perfectly obvious? Let's list them, just in case they aren't. Not to get more words, no, no, I would never do that. At least not on the first day. OK, rules:

  • Write fifty thousand words.
  • Of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, whatever.
  • They don't need to be one unified work, except in the sense that a blog is one unified work.
  • Post them all to my blog. Or my other blog.
  • In November.

Yeah, that's pretty simple.

By the way? Seven hundred and thirty-eight words. Your mileage may vary.

Let's circle back around to why I'm doing the Rebel thing instead of a novel. Partly because the was it three? novels that I wrote in NaNoWriMo failed to actually be novels. They ended up being a fairly random mishmsash of fictional scenes, and the third one wasn't all that more interesting than the second one. So it feels like time to do something different--for, yes, just the sake of being different--and see what I learn from it.

And then there's the posting part. It's my view that NaNoWriMo is all about poking perfectionism in the eye. (I occasionally consider what a T shirt to that effect would look like, but the graphic would be rather unpleasant, right?) But I have no appreciable perfectionist hangups about writing that I'm not going to show to anyone else. I want a new perfectionist front to attack, and writing that I am going to show to others, in the blog, seems like a good one.

Now, a better front would be breaking through my perfectionism about plotting. My NaNoWriMo novels are a series of random scenes because I hesitate to actually keep going with a sustained plot, because my plots look silly to me. That is without a doubt an example of perfectionism, one that gets right in the way of my goal to do more fiction writing, and I should be poking that one in the eye this year. But I'm not going to. So there.

Just about one thousand words. Seven hundred left to go for the day. Goodness me.

Image: Wikimedia Commons.

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