I know what you’re thinking: I do questionable things all the time. What makes this day any different? But this one is legit. Well, sort of.
When dawn breaks on the first day of November, I will be embarking on my seventh voyage with NaNoWriMo (for those who recognize the lingo), otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month (for those who prefer that I spell things out and not use those wretched social-media abbreviations and acronyms that are ruining the literary skills of most of the planet). The goal of said adventure is to madly scribble 50,000 words for your latest writing project, in the span of thirty days. (For those who get giddy about math, this breaks down to 1,667 words a day.)
It’s most assuredly a challenge, and a frenetic one at that. Some folks do not thrive in such an environment, and they should understandably stay far away from this project. And I’ll admit that I struggled with my virgin attempt. (Don’t we all?) I’m someone who is very specific about my wording, wanting things to align just so. (I can spend hours on a single paragraph, true story.) But you can’t do that when the clock is ticking, day after day. And that’s really the point of the whole project; it’s not “get it right”, it’s “get it out”.
The goal is to throw off the instinctive editing-shackles and just keep typing, capturing whatever falls out of your brain, without any regard for structure, plot, or, really, coherency. And once you’re able to achieve a free-association mindset, the floodgates open. (At least for me. As mentioned, this exercise is not for everyone.) I don’t limit what’s coming out. If I’m working on a particular passage in the story and it happens to trigger a memory of something unrelated to the story, I run with it until that memory is captured and then I go back to the plot.
End result, as November finally wanes? I have hundreds of pages crammed with ideas, disparate and diverse, random sidebars that often don’t contribute to the book I’m working on but provide fuel for future literary fires. It’s a massive download of crazed creativity that (hopefully) can germinate and grow. Many of the stories you see on Bonnywood are the gestated results of past November conceptions, in one form or another.
Okay, let’s shove all my writer-geek passions aside and get to the point that most of you are actually concerned about: What does my submersion into NaNoWriMo mean for you, dear reader?
Well, not really all that much. I plan to keep posting with some degree of regularity, so there should be something to poke a stick at when you visit. Things will all balance in the end, and we’ll get back to regular programming at some point, but there will definitely be days when tumbleweeds are blowing across the Bonnywood pages, possibly leading to you feeling a bit unsettled about our relationship. It’s not you, it’s me. Just hang tight until December 1. [Cue Diana Ross and the Supremes (or Jimmy Sommerville!) singing “Someday We’ll Be Together” on the soundtrack for this post.]
Note: The opening photo is a snap I took at Partner’s nephew’s wedding LAST November. Said ceremony was at one of those “country chic” rustic marriage venues. I don’t know what this building was all about, off to the side and avoided like it was, but it certainly looks like a place wherein I would sequester myself during NaNoWriMo, if I only could. Instead, I NaNo in a boring backroom at Bonnywood. Not exactly a Writer’s Retreat, but it will have to do…
P.S. If you happen to be a fellow NaNoWriMo enthusiast, you can hook up with me here, if you so desire:
Categories: The Journey