What’s important in life changes from moment to moment in reaction to the world around us. And it changes in larger ways over time and through experiences. Right now I want to make writing more of a priority.
It’s not that I’m not a working writer. The thing is, so much of “writing” is not writing at all. It’s research, plotting, interviewing and character development. If you’re an outliner, that’s part of writing, too. For me, long walks where I mull over ideas are part of the package. And a lot of “writing” is really editing, copy editing and proofreading.
Then there’s the business side of things – online promotion, keeping in contact with bookstores, setting up signings, networking with other writers, attending conferences, designing marketing packages and posters and postcards and bookmarks – and then having them made. There’s the time you spend working with critique partners, reading others’ books to blurb, seeking out blurbs from other authors and keeping track of what is happening in the industry. Not to mention blogging (which is writing, of course, but of a different ilk) and keeping up with other blogs.
It’s surprising any actual words end up on the page at all.
But today is November 1st. The first day of the rest of our lives – and the first day of 2010’s NaNoWriMo. For those who don’t know, that’s National Novel Writing Month. During November, writers all over the globe will participate in a mass production of words on the page. I tried to go to the website earlier, and Internet Explorer couldn’t load it. It must be completely overloaded today.
Participation in NaNoWriMo allows (forces) you to make writing high priority for a month. Just a month. Heck, that’s not very long. There’s already a light at the end of the tunnel. The goal is 50,000 words of a badly written first draft. It works out to an average of 1,667 words a day. That’s between 6 and 7 pages every day for thirty days.
That’s doable. I know because that’s pretty much the way I like to write rough drafts anyway. That kind of production circumvents your inner critic. The whole point is that however imperfect the draft might be, it’s DONE. And in the meantime, a lot of new writing habits will be formed out there. After November, some folks will just keep putting words onto the page.
Which is what “writing” should really be about, don’t you think?
I’m not officially signing up for NaNoWriMo. Lots of people don’t, but instead participate in spirit by identifying their own goals. Over at the Writing Bug, Jenny talks today about her own personal NoCoQuerMo (Northern Colorado Query Month). What a good idea!
So before the holidays hit full force, this month I’ll be churning out a much higher quotient of words than usual. Alone in my basement office but along with thousands of others.
Are you joining the writing hordes this November?