Friday, November 30, 2007

Nano WHAT?

Nano – What?
by Billie A Williams

I mention NaNoWriMo to my friends or family and they say “Nano WHAT? I tell them it’s the National Write a Novel in a Month challenge – and they roll their eyes and say “right”.

It may sound funny, but its some dead serious writing with a lot of fun thrown in. Can you write 50,000 words in 30 days? Sure you can. You could take the dictionary off your shelf and copy words steadily until you reach the magical 50,000 words and then you could cut and paste it into the NaNoWriMo challenge submit page. Since you scramble the page anyway, it might work. I haven’t had the time to test that theory. But hey, all the words you’ll ever need you’ll find in the dictionary – so you could conceivably do just that as long as you formed them into sentences and paragraphs. Question is, why would you want to. That would be like writing the worst trash you could think to write in the length of a novel manuscript and submitting it to Publish America just to see if it would go through. Or doing one of those lovely graffiti paintings on the box cars you see going by. Why not instead channel that talent and make it pay off. Do the real thing and test yourself against -- who? Your own self of course.

I learned a lot from my fourth year of doing NaNoWriMo. The most important thing is that I can do anything I set my mind to. I also learned to let the editor sleep late while I get the words down on paper. I learned that I can compose at the computer; I really don’t need to write it all out in long hand first – which cuts my writing time nearly in half.

Is the writing as good or better? I haven’t edited the first 54,000 words yet so I can’t say for sure. What I can tell you is that it felt incredible when I got the letter from Chris Baty (whose dream child this whole program is) that says CONGRATULATIONS you made it. The whole letter makes me want to giggle. It does a lot of saying you are one of a kind, you beat the odds when others didn’t. He’s right! Not every one who entered made it to the end, some didn’t even get half way—I did. That says something about my responsibility, my commitment, my perseverance—that says I have what it takes to do what I say I am, to do what I really want to do. It says I AM A WRITER!

I’m guilty of having an inferiority complex, an introverted sense of myself and I’m shy beyond all belief. NaNoWriMo gives me courage. I’ve had two books published from the three years I’ve done NaNoWriMo so far. I plan to submit the one from this year too as soon as I finish it. That should take me a couple more weeks.

If you don’t do the NaNoWriMo challenge, try this instead. Challenge yourself to write just one page a day. Do you realize that in 365 days you will have enough pages for at least two novels or one 365 page Harry Potter or regency romance type novel. Pick up the gauntlet, challenge yourself. If you are a writer, put your fingers to the keyboard and prove it.

A writer writes, that’s all there is to it. A writer doesn’t talk about what s/he’s going to write. A writer doesn’t say s/he has this great idea for a story s/he’ll write when the kids get bigger, the weather is better or worse, the job slows down. A writer writes over, above, around, under, beyond, or through whatever is in her/his way. If I did it you can too! WRITE ON!
Tomorrow I will post an unedited chapter from The Capricorn Goat. My novel from NaNoWriMo this year. Come back to read it and let me know what you think.


unwriter said...

As a fellow NaNo'er that said he couldn't do it, a major big congrats!!!

Anonymous said...

You did great, Billie!!! You are so correct--it's about setting a goal and going for it!!!