Have you ever heard the writing advice, “Write the book you want to read” ? Well, that’s basically why I write things. A lot of things. Often, when I read a particularly good or bad book it inspires me to start something new, to play around with my own world and characters and FIX THE HORRIBLE MISTAKES okay sorry I promise my stories aren’t anger-driven but I recently read The Invisible Library and it’s The Reason I’ve revived an old idea about Libraries because I was so disappointed. (There are other reasons I write too, I just don’t feel like writing up a dissertation on Creative Writing right now.)
I still have some notebooks filled with badly-spelled short stories from years and years ago (the first evidence of story-writing is from a journal entry dated in 2007), so maybe it’s not fair to blame everything on reading books? On the other hand, I was reading back then too.
So what’s all this about NaNoWriMo? Well. *deep breath*
NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month (November), and is also the name of a non-profit organization that encourages people to participate in the month. The official goal is to write a fifty thousand word novel – first draft of a novel, that is – during the month of November. Which comes out to about 1667 words per day. I did Nano for the first time in 2014, introduced by my father, and it was a huge step forward for me. There’s some controversy over how useful Nano really is; isn’t 50K in a month rushing it, encouraging bad writing, focusing on quantity over quality?
In point of fact, it does encourage quantity over quality. The reasoning there is that a lot of people need something to get past the beginning inertia of writing a long thing. If you keep plotting and world-building deeper and deeper forever, or keep rewriting your first chapter to get it just so, you’re never getting anywhere. If you just jump headfirst into the writing and plow forward, eyes straight ahead, you’ll actually get somewhere. And novels aren’t written, they’re rewritten, as Michael Chrichton said. (Also known as Editing Takes Forever.) To some extent, I think whether or not Nano is a good idea depends on the person, but it seems like a good way to get started. It’s been a game changer for me.
“So what you’re saying is you’re writing a book? Cool. What’s it about? Are you going to review your own book?”
I have no idea what it’s about.
You read that right. And yes, I’m freaking out (just a little). I have some world ideas, all of them unconnected, and a handful of characters. No plot. None whatsoever. I’m going to dive in on November First and start writing. Stressful? Intense? Crazy fun? Yes, yes, and yes. Nano is a roller-coaster rush like nothing else. No, by the way, I’m not going to review my own book. First of all, weird, and how biased can you get? Second of all, the Thing I hopefully come out of November with will not be a book. It’ll be a blobby weird-colored incoherent Mess, also known as a first draft. Hopefully, I’ll have a new grasp on writing, and maybe a new take on the books I read.
I’ll probably be blogging less through November, ’cause I won’t have time to read as much. Maybe some writing updates, as sort-of related to books and reviewing?
So tell me: have you ever done/are planning to do NaNoWriMo? (We can freak out together!) Even if you aren’t/haven’t, do you do creative writing, and do you connect it to reading at all? And what do you think, would writing-updates be interesting?