So You Want to Write a Novel . . . In a Month

I’m still chugging toward the 50,000-word finish line and have switched to a purple fine-line sharpie because if I’m gonna resort to writing purple prose to stretch my word-count anyway, I might as well go all out.

paper nest

There’s a pile of used-up legal pads and scribble-covered napkins, envelopes, and post-its on my desk and a purse stuffed with two notepads and various folded pages with numbers circled at the bottom.  I have chapter fragments and scenes saved in the draft folders of two e-mail accounts and in fourteen documents on a flash drive (yes, I’m backing that up).

PaperI also have a small pile of pages sitting on my shredder, to save time.  I knew they were crap as I was writing them,* but I still counted each word.

One could argue that National Novel Writing Month may not be the best way to go about producing quality work—or anything else of note—during these thirty days.

And this may be true.

But one could counter-argue that staring at a blank page day after day, waiting for the perfect words to spring forth, is an even bigger waste of time and that a crappy first draft is better than no draft at all.

It’s all about attitude and reasonable expectations, right?


Of course, every writer can agree that even if you have the right attitude, accurate information, and realistic expectations, there can be unexpected obstacles to overcome . . .

 . . . but, man, what a rush!


*Or, as a fanfiction writer friend calls it, “a side scene from the Alternate Universe of Suck.”


Monday Olympics

For everyone who is starting Nanowrimo today* and for anyone else who thinks gold medals should be awarded for arriving at work more or less on time with coffee, pants, and no recollection of anything after slapping the alarm clock** at you’ve-got-to-be-kidding a.m. this morning***. . .

I give you the incomparable Livingston Taylor^ who always brightens my day :

(Unless you’re a Michael Jonathan fan, you can stop listening after the 3:30 mark)


*And what are you doing online instead of writing?  You don’t have time for footnotes!  Shoo!

** I don’t have to slap my alarm clock to turn it off, but it makes me feel better.  I highly recommend it.

***I exaggerate: I do remember an argument with my daughter over whether Halloween candy is a breakfast food. I won, for which I am grateful—I needed that Snickers.

^Brother of James Taylor.