The frost killed the rest of my zucchini plants last night. It happens, and I’m okay with it. I have shredded, chopped, grilled, diced, baked and fried up so much zucchini the past three months, not to mention the amount of zucchini I have frozen in my fridge…let’s just say, I’m okay with the zucchini being done for the winter.
However, it is a sign not only of the coming winter months, but the coming challenge of November.
You see, it’s that time of year once again. When I rise in silent unity with other writers in the world for National Novel Writing Month.
A month that comes with a challenge. To write a book, or precisely to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That averages out to 1667 words a day. Unless you are like me and look at the month and the time line and see that if you are being honest with yourself, there is no way that I’m going to be able to write during Thanksgiving week when I’ll be swarming with relatives. And the last three days of the month, well that is just trying to get the family back on a schedule, so really it means I probably need to write my own book by the 22 or the 23 at the latest. Which bring that total words a day to 2272 words a day.
I’m not worried about this, to be honest I’m actually excited. Every November ends up being like a renewal of my writing spirit. This will be the 6th time I’ve done this. I would say this is my 6th attempt, but I’ve complete each challenge, and I don’t mean to brag, but at the same time, HELL YES I mean to brag. I wake up early and work my ass off to get the words and story line on a blank piece of paper, and I do it with such aplomb that you’d think I was going a bit insane. And I’m totally okay with that. Because there is something about focusing on a word count, rather than a story line, there is something about focusing on trying to get at least 2000 words written a day that takes me out of my ‘writing head’ where I think about back story, using the word ‘seems’ too much, and whether or not I am showing and not telling. There is a madness that creeps in when I’m writing against a clock and I revel in it. That madness warms me and freezes me and delights me. I’m a caterpillar during the month of November, who will arise the first of December with the most satisfying sense of accomplishment as I wiggle my new wings for the first time.
To be honest, the hardest part is coming up with something to write. I’ve worried about it every single time, but then an idea hops into my head just in time and I’m off. I think it is one of the bigger hurdles. I just need an idea that I like and I can go from there and let the idea grow into a beast of its own. Some people I know will spend October hammering their outlines and making notes. I’ve never written with an outline, I tried it once, and it isn’t my wheelhouse of creativity. I mean, I’ve written a sort of summation before, “and then he’s going to…and then she…so they find out…” but I like not really knowing where a story will take me. The one time I tried to work with an outline (because hey, when you’re a writer, you need to try different things to find out how you work your craft.) When I had an outline, I rebelled against knowing where the story was supposed to go. It’s a whole thing about artistic license and how I work as opposed to others, and perhaps I’ll go into that later another day.
But my point, I have a direction.
The past few months I re-wrote a book. Then I sent said book to ye old beta reading group. After, I made corrections and polished things a big, and now the new manuscript is a query letter resting in the in-box of perspective literary agents.
In the re-write of the book, I created a new character, a supporting actor that I kind of fell for. He had a strange interaction toward the end of the book with another supporting actor and the two of them have been whispering to me for a few months now.
In an attempt to give myself some peace and to see if there was something there, I wrote a chapter of their story.
It ticked me down to my little toes.
So I have the basic idea for the book I’ll write next month. And I’ve got to admit. I’m getting excited.