I Should Be Writing

It’s November, NaNoWriMo month.  A number of my friends are twenty or thirty thousand words into their novels, and I think that’s amazing.  Personally, I’m not that interested in writing a novel, but every year, November reminds me that I should be writing something.  Writers write; poseurs talk about writing.  Currently, I am more poseur than writer.  I pile so much on my plate that I don’t have time to write, a convenient excuse leaving me drained, depressed, feeling fake.

Soon, middle age will crash in upon me.  I fear that I will find no creative solace in the rubble.

No NaNo for Me

I spent the last two days agonizing over National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.)  During that time, I wrote exactly zero words, which put me about 3,300 words in the hole.  In an attempt to kick-start myself, I re-read the story inspiring the novel and became even more depressed and discouraged.

The story has potential.  But stressing about NaNoWriMo is not going to get it written.  I need to write it over a longer period of time, with less pressure.

To my fellow NaNoWriMates:  Forge ahead and meet your goal.  I’ll be waiting at the finish line to cheer you on.

To Nano, or Not To Nano

It’s halfway through October, with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a.k.a. November, fast approaching.  My blog has grown stagnant; I wrote the last meaningful post more than eight months ago.  I have become increasingly frustrated with my lack of published fiction, which is due in large part to me not submitting much for publication; you can’t win if you don’t play.

I have never written a novel.  The concept of writing 50,000 words as part of a single story frightens and overwhelms me.  I have a lengthy short story that should probably be expanded into a novel, and I have received a lot of encouragement from people who have read it to do just that.  I know several people who have successfully written full novels during NaNoWriMo, and some of them are just as busy as I am, so I really don’t have much of an excuse.

My wife is also considering participating in NaNoWriMo this year.  She has a great idea for her novel, helped along by a writing retreat she attended over the summer.  Today, a co-worker told me he is going to try to write a novel next month.  This is good, because I think it would be easier to stay on track if I’m sharing goals with someone both at home and at work.  I know there is plenty of support and comaraderie in the online community, but it’s not the same as physically being in the presence of someone doing the same thing I am doing.  (This is why the NaNo community has so many writing get-togethers, I think.)

Participating in NaNoWriMo would require some significant changes in my life.  I would need to add significant structure to my day, something that needs to be done anyway.  I would need to power through the inertia that keeps me from writing.  I would need to compartmentalize the project to keep from being overwhelmed (a big challenge for me.)  I think the thing that frightens me the most (and hence, the thing from which I can learn the most) is that I would need to turn off my inner editor and just write.  When I’m writing fiction, I have a tendency to rewrite as I go, rather than letting the words flow and revising them later.  On a tight schedule where I would need to average nearly 1,700 words per day, I would not have the luxury of editing as I go.  In the process, maybe I would learn that 50,000 words is not as daunting as it sounds.

If I’m not careful, I might talk myself into this.


NaNoWriMo scares me. I’ve registered for it three years in a row, but produced nothing more than a title. Meanwhile, friends have cranked out three draft novels each. Good ones, even!

There are alternatives, though. I know a man who started his own short-lived group: LoShoStoWriMo (Local Short Story Writing Month.) That’s much more my speed. In my busy life, I’m not sure I can pull off the 1,666 word daily average required for NaNoWriMo, but I bet I can write a short story in a month.

The real question is this: Will I have the guts to submit it?

NaNoWriMo and General Creativity

I decided to try my hand at National Novel Writing Month this year. The idea is to spend the month of November writing a novel, focusing on output rather than quality. Once the text is out there, you have 50,000+ words to revise and sculpt into a quality novel. (A sculptor must define the general shape before refining the sculture, you know.)

I have yet to write a single word on my novel. It’s not because I don’t want to; I just haven’t had the time available during the first three days of the month. With the schedule I built for myself, I need to average 2,500 words per day to reach the goal of 50,000 words, and I’m already 7,500 words behind. I was tempted to just give it up for this year and concentrate on bringing in more freelance writing and consulting work, but Lannette encouraged me to do some writing on the novel every day anyway, even if I don’t meet the goal of NaNoWriMo. Somehow, I think she gets the point of the event more than I do.

In other news …

I have been revising the site a bit, changing the name to Lytspeed Communications and Consulting and building a page to house my writing and consulting credentials, hoping to generate some more income from freelance work. I pitched a number of article ideas to ComputorEdge for 2006, and hopefully I will continue to get work from the kind editors at that publication. (No, really, they are great to work with!)

Tomorrow, I will be recording some cover tunes with Steel River Three for our new demo CD. We hope to distribute the demo to radio stations and clubs in the area, which could lead to more additional income.