Nov 7 2013

The thrill of — wait for it — persistence


Just reminding folks that cracking down extra-hard on my writing last month meant fewer blog posts. A simple equation, apparently. Can’t fight math.

Oh, and look! I’ll be doing it again this month! Well.

Seriously. Just gotta.

I’ll still check in at least once a week or so, while I’m in the trenches. If I Twittered, I’d tweet, but although I do have a Twitter account, I just can’t get into it… possibly because the device by which I would tweet is not a phone and only works when I’m in range of an open WiFi network.. It’s the casualness and ease of Twitter that makes it so attractive, and so powerful. Take away those two things, and it’s just another chore!

I have actual writing to do, thanks. So, not likely to tweet.

Meanwhile: Hey, my sister signed up for NaNoWriMo!

What, do you not know that that is? That month-long marathon, in which people of all walks of life, professional, amateur and experimenter, sign up to write an entire 50,000-word novel in exactly one month? Never heard of it? It’s been around for years now, and it’s grown into quite the event. November IS National Novel Writing Month!

Really, go check out the scoop on their website. I’ll wait here.

Back now? Good. Isn’t it a lovely concept?

They have pep talks, too.

And you can always get the book No Plot? No Problem!  by Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo.  It’s 1.99 for the Kindle version.  Which means you probably already spent more money than that just by turning on your computer, navigating to the Amazon website, and clicking on “Look Inside.”

So, Sabine’s attacking her word-count like a proper pro. She is currently between day-jobs, and I’m TOTALLY JEALOUS BECAUSE SHE CAN WRITE ANYTIME SHE FEELS LIKE IT ALL DAY but enough about me.   I’m her cheering section this month, and I have no doubts that she will hit the NaNoWriMo mark of 50k words with flair to spare!

My pal, author Ann Tonsor Zeddies has also signed up.

Why didn’t I sign up, you ask? Because the proper NaNoWriMo deal is to write a 50K-word novel, beginning to end, in one month. If you’ve just started something, you can generally slip in with it. But the thing I’ve been working on currently is nowhere near its beginning, and it would just be plain cheating to sign on at this stage.

Of course, I could have taken a month out of my life and started some other work, beginning to end. It’s not like I have a shortage of ideas waiting for my attention. And now I’m kinda wishing i’d done that.

But I’m going to stick with my current plan. Of course, there’s nothing to say you couldn’t sign up.

There are many wonderful benefits of going through the NaNoWriMo experience, chief among which are: writing a novel.

Seriously — that’s enough. Regardless of whether or not the completed novel you end up with is good enough to be published, it’s worth doing.

The experience of writing a novel’s worth of words is, in and of itself, a worthwhile activity

I could point to all sorts of useful results : the sense of accomplishment, the exercise of one’s creativity, the training in daily application, the testing of one’s limits, learning about yourself, yadda yadda.

The hell with all that. That’s like saying that eating a steak is good because it has protein and iron and it’s good for you, and that’s why you should eat a steak instead of candy.

No, no — you eat the steak because it is delicious! (Vegetarians, substitute vegetable of your choice.) Really, it’s good! Never had one? You’re in for a treat. This is why we want a steak. It’s one of the wonderful things about existence.

With NaNoWriMo, you get to find out why writers write: not just to “have written”, but to write. For the doing of it, the doing of something remarkable.

Throw yourself into the story! Take chances, be bold, be crazy –or dare to be deep, dare to speak truth, dare to reach for beauty.

Do you understand that even if everything comes out as crap, it’s still worth doing?

Here’s another metaphor: Do you ski? When you ski, do you ski to win the race? Do you ski to look cute in your snow-bunny suit?

Or do you ski to ski? Chances are you ski because it’s an amazing experience. And you get to do it over and over, as many times as you want, and if you fall face-first in the snow you laugh like a loon, clamber to your feet, find your runaway skis, strap ’em back on, and do it again.

At the end of NaNoWriMo, you have something. It might be something already in its final, perfect form; or that can be improved, made into a work of literature you can share with others and maybe even sell — or it might just be a bunch of great photos of you zooming down the mountain, that you can keep and cherish forever.

NaNoWriMo is only a month long. That’s short enough to not be scary, but long enough to have the real experience of writing a novel.

That’s the point, folks. The doing of the thing.

By the way, everything is really about the doing of the thing. Or haven’t you noticed?

And now, courtesy of those wacky Russians, your Daily Affirmation: