So...I've decided to try NaNo this year. I know, shocking, given the title! But that sentence has rung in my mind over and over the last few weeks as it has dawned on me just what I've let myself in for.
For those who have been living under a rock, or are just not familiar with someone in the writing community, the month of November is set aside for those crazy people called writers who aim to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I know, sounds nuts, right? Well, this year I'm joining them, so that shows what it says about me!
When I'm writing, it's pretty much all I can think about. Like when you read an awesome book that lingers or a movie that strikes a chord with you, or a new person in your life, it invades my every waking thought. And my non-waking thoughts pretty often, too. And now that I have a goal, or deadline, whatever way you look at it, I'm pretty sure I'm going to be more scatter brained than normal!
As I've said in previous posts, I'm not a writer who does a lot of prep work before I begin a new project. But I've had to this time. I'm not confident enough starting something like NaNo without at least a hint of a game plan. It isn't much, and it's by no means detailed, but I have a vague plan and my job over the next few days is to do as much character profiling as is possible before NaNo starts this coming Monday. Because at the end of the day, stories can be altered and fixed and primed and pampered, but your characters carry it. If you don't do a good job with them, then forget it. Every writer will tell you the fabulous moments when the characters break free from their moulds and write the stories themselves.
I don't think of myself as a seasoned writer or a pro or whatever. I've finished four books, have three unfinished partials and a few drafts needing polished. That said, I don't think the skill of learning to write is ever finished. No matter how many books you write, or even if you get published or not. Because there is always research to do, and for those that say they don't are lying - no two characters are the same and each is individual and need their own prep and research.
I didn't sign up to NaNo to prove anything. I don't think that's the point. I don't think those lucky enough to 'win' can sneer at those who don't and say, well you didn't finish therefore you aren't a writer. NaNo, to me, is a fantastic chance to join a wonderful community of people. And like characters, no two writers are the same. Everyone has their own way of doing things and it's interesting to see how others work and progress.
Would I like to achieve the goal and reach 50k in 30 days? Of course I would, I'd be lying if I said no. But I don't think the word count is the be all and end all of NaNo. It might be cliched, but it's the taking part that counts.
And I can't wait to meet my fellow contestants.