Not Writing = Fatness

I will admit it that I have been slacking. And now I feel fat.  Not literally though-

Let me explain.

Many people have asked me “how did you write a novel and maintain a full time job?” My response is typically to explain that writing is like exercising. It’s work and takes discipline, but ultimately, I feel better about life after doing it.  The routine gives me that content, productive, got-my-ish-together feeling.  And then they understand.

Since I haven’t been writing or blogging regularly, I don’t know how else to describe my current state other than to say I feel fat.

But it’s ok because I have a plan.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), where people all over the country (world? universe?) strive to write 50,000 words by November 30. All those people out there with a novel inside of them make an attempt to finally get it out.  Part of me thinks the whole thing feels weirdly contrived.  The other part thinks this may be the only way to get me back into the groove.  I’m embracing the “other part” and thus I will strive to (1) revise my novel (again) and (2) get back to blogging weekly.

Substantively, I need to work on the dude aka my male protagonist. Everyone hates him but me. It wouldn’t bother me if some people didn’t like him, but this is consistent feedback that I have received, which is not right because he is supposed to be a decent human being. So, despite my previous resistance, I’m going to try re-writing his chapters in the first person. That is supposed to be the perspective that people connect to the most, so maybe that will help resolve the problem.

Technically, I just need to cut some stuff out. Usually, I’m good at eliminating superfluous words/paragraphs. But usually, I’m also working on shorter documents. It can literally take me hours to revise a memo that’s only 4 or 5 pages. Nevertheless, that’s one of my most important writing skills so I might as well apply it to the most (personally) important thing I’ve ever written!

So basically, I have nine more days of fatness to go.  Thankfully, I’ll be on vacation for four of them. Wish me luck!

P.S. I got an e-mail from my novel the other day:

novel

Happy National Novel Writing Month!

Hello! Yes, it’s been a while.  I don’t really have a good excuse.  My silence the past couple of weeks is particularly ironic seeing that November is National Novel Writing Month.  NNWM’s popularity tells you just how many people would like to write a novel one day (over 250,000 are participating this year apparently).  Basically, someone thought it would be cool if a bunch of people all tried to knock out 50,000 words (about 175 pages) in the month of November.  More than anything, NNWM appears to be a web community or social media site.  Initially, I really liked the idea that NNWM exists, but I’m no longer sure if it’s for me.  Before I get into my detailed analysis (see chart below) about whether or not to participate, here is how the program describes itself on the website:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2011, we had 256,618 participants and 36,843 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

What do you think?  Are you inspired?  Does it make you want to write your novel??  Does it make you feel a sense of community? Let’s do a comparison of NNWM and MNWYAAH (My Novel Writing Year and a Half)

NNWM

MNWYAAH

30 days to complete a novel (first draft). 18 months to complete a novel (first draft).
Public online profile documenting progress. Blog documenting entire experience and related items on dreams and writing.
Reliance on a community of hundreds of thousands consisting of   like-minded writers to provide advice and support via the Internet. Reliance on a community of 7 real life fiction writers to provide   feedback every other week + reliance on a community of (1,000?) facebook friends to provide support by clicking the link to my blog.
Reward for completion No reward for reward for completion
www.nanowrimo.org http://www.illegalwriting.com

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that if you have a plan (and have put some time and energy into creating it), you should just probably stick to it.  So, I think I will just continue doing what I’m doing.  I don’t think this is a cop out as long as I get, say, 50,000 words by 1/14/2014 because…that’s what I’ve always said I would do!   By the way, if you’re wondering why I bother blogging about my non-progress, it’s because I believe that it’s an essential part of the process.  If I become a famous fiction writer, other aspiring writers will see that it’s unrealistic to think that something like novel can be accomplished without hurdles, false starts and periods of unmotivation.  And if I don’t become a famous writer then…you’ll know why!  Another post to come tomorrow…I can’t wait for that one! 🙂