NaNoWriMo: On The Verge Of Madness

sheep_off_cliffYou know that thing when you are dreading something — a doctor’s visit, final exams, the last day of vacation — and then suddenly time starts pushing you with all gusto toward that event while you dig your heels in and scream for it to slow down?  That’s exactly how this week has felt for me.

Ever since deciding to jump back into NaNoWriMo, I’ve wanted to spend a good amount of time plotting out a book, coming up with character backstories, and creating an ideas list.  And all I’ve had time to do is to create a brief outline and brainstorm the (boring) names of six main characters.  That’s it.  Tomorrow, I’m going to wake up bright and early, go to church, and then spend the afternoon writing the first 2,000 words of my novel — and I’m convinced it’ll be horrible.  I know that some people are naturally good storytellers, but I am not.  I’m not half bad at describing a story and having fun with quirky characters, but I have difficulty harnessing my overactive imagination to do my bidding when it comes to a story.  I’ve even changed ideas for my book three times in the past week.

My wife and I are planning on attending a NaNoWriMo kickoff party today in the Detroit area, and I hope that will be a major source of encouragement and motivation for the next four weeks.  It’s already a huge boost to see a lot of my friends and fellow bloggers join up to do this, and I wish them well as they grunt and sweat over a keyboard for 50,000 words.

For those doing this event, check out this recent post by Patrick Rothfuss (a bit NSFW).  He’s one of my new favorite authors, having absolutely crushed the scene with his debut novel The Name of the Wind, and I love how he opens up to the frustration and pain of writing, as well as being misunderstood as a writer.  Not all of this applies to me or you, but it’s good reading nonetheless.

P.S. – Professor Beej also pointed out this great article about 7 bad writing habits we learn in school.

3 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: On The Verge Of Madness

  1. Tesh November 2, 2009 / 1:56 pm

    Tangentially, how many words do you pump out here on the blog each month?

  2. Syp November 2, 2009 / 2:46 pm

    I have no idea Tesh, but blog writing — at least to me — is far, far easier than noveling.

  3. Tesh November 2, 2009 / 3:37 pm

    Oh, definitely, since it comes in smaller chunks with little need for cohesiveness. It’s just an idle rumination that I’ve asked myself as well (since it may well come to blogging or writing a novel for my schedule). I can pump out 1500 words on just about anything fairly quickly. The trick is taking that sprint ability and channeling it into a marathon mentality.

    I’m not sure how best to do it, but I know that just putting thoughts into words is itself fairly easy to do, and sometimes, that’s all it takes to get the engine going. I’ve contemplated working in organizational chunks; rather than write a chapter a day or whatever, straight on through. Say, write a 2000 word outline, then flesh out pieces of it as I go. That way, I’m taking the marathon in a far more scattershot order, but since it’s more compartmentalized (with the overall structure planned out earlier), it’s more manageable.

    Almost like working in key frames rather than straight through if you’re familiar with animation techniques.

    Just a thought. 😉

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