Monday, October 31, 2005

All NaNo's Eve

It's just before 8:00 on a brisk New Hampshire night, and I'm sitting here with a bowl of Halloween candy (dangerous) while I start another blog (even more dangerous). What in the name of all that is right and holy would lead me to start another new blog?

Insanity, thy name is NaNo.

Yes, tonight is All NaNo's Eve: the night before the November 1st start of another National Novel Writing Month. Long-time readers of my blog Hoarded Ordinaries might remember me taking the NaNo plunge last year: in the aftermath of my then-recent divorce, I thought writing a novel in a month would be a crazy way to Do Something Big, a kind of Mental Enema to cleanse the system.

Last year, I made occasional blog-mention of the So-Called-Novel-in-Progress, describing the first inkling of a plot idea, the point when characters began to take a life of their own, and the giddy jubilation of finishing Something Like a Story 50,000 words later. And although I wouldn't under pain of death allow anyone to read my So-Called Novel in its entirety, I did dare post one chapter from it.

Now that I've proven to myself and anyone who might care that I can do the seemingly impossible feat of writing a Crappy First Draft in thirty days, why attempt NaNo a second time? It's not like I have tons of free time; in fact, I've recently been whining about how behind I am with grading and other things that I do in exchange for a paycheck. With my ever-daunting workload, then, why do NaNo for a second year...and why decide to blog the process?

In a word, I'm doing NaNo again this year purely as a writing exercise. Like a runner who trains for a marathon not with delusions of winning but solely as a way to push the envelope of her own strength and endurance, I'm doing NaNo this year to remind myself, again, that my Creative Muscle is stronger than I think. When faced with a project and a deadline, no matter how daunting, I somehow find it in me to step up to the plate. At this particular juncture of my life as I'm trying to get an alternate career as a writing and creativity coach off the ground, it occurs to me that I need to get myself in top writing form before I try to motivate others to write their way toward their own Personal Best.

And so, this new blog is a place where I'll talk about this year's So-Called Novel not because the product is something to crow about, but because the process of facing a daunting deadline is something we all can relate to at some level. And while I spend the next 30 days pursuing the sometimes-lonely task of generating wordcount, I hope to hear the input of other people on the journey: those of you who are facing daunting projects of your own (NaNo or otherwise), and those of you who are watching from the sidelines.

So, that's what I'm doing: how about you? Those of you reading this, what daunting writing projects are you working on: are there any closet novelists, stalled academic writers, or would-be poets out there? Are there any wannabe-authors reading these words while a manuscript sits gathering dust or is still unbegun? I'd like to think that all writers can learn from and commiserate with one tell us, if you please, who you are, why you're here, and what you'd love to write during your November.