Monday I started writing a novel. I will finish in 30 days.

Is it possible to write a novel in 30 days? Is a person crazy to even try? Follow my blog for the next month and both questions shall be answered!

I’ve signed up for the National Novel Writing Month challenge, to write 1,667 a day for 30 days, which equals 50,000 words, which equals a novel by the end of the month. I’m taking a class at UCLA Extension in conjunction with the challenge, as an extra layer of assurance I actually finish. We met twice before November commenced to talk about what we’re undertaking and the obstacles specific to trying to write a novel in 30 days–burn out, making time in your daily schedule for writing, how to deal with friends and family members thinking your’re crazy, etc. Now we meet every Monday in November for “writeshops” where we do nothing but write. The whole crazy concept, called NaNoWriMo, has been in effect since 1999, and there are hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are signed up (check out http://www.nanowrimo.org).

So it’s now Day Three of the challenge, and I’m doing…mediocre. I have a good idea of what I want to write, though the Wrimo people suggest just going for it balls to the wall and not really outlining or planning. Not planning. My personal nightmare.

The first day I exceeded my word count by a couple hundred…good start. But yesterday…well I worked promoting bacon-wrapped hot dogs from 7am to 7pm and was so knackered when I got home I only got in like 83 words. So behind on the second day. Just finished the word count for today, so that’s good. But now I’ve already got to make up that second day. Sigh.

I think this will be a fun journey, although right now I’m feeling a bit stressed out. The whole concept of NaNoWriMo is to 1.) Have a deadline–writers are famously excellent procrastinators, and this forces us to just bust out a creative work of length in one go; and 2.) Accept the reality of Shitty First Drafts and go for quantity over quality, thus silencing the inner editor and leaving the writer with that first messy bulk of a story necessary to ever revise, rewrite, and polish the turd into gold.

These are proving to be difficult concepts for me. I vowed I would go at this challenge with much whimsy and nonchalance, opposite to the usual slave-driving motivator I usually use, Determined Erin. But not knowing where I’m going in this story is frustrating and confusing. I think I’ll make an outline. Outline?


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