Here we are, 1 October, and I hear the refrain starting: “One more month until NaNo!” Yep, it’s that time again. If you haven’t been scrambling to get your novel figured out, you have about four and a half weeks to get yourself ready for the Friday when the First of November rolls into town demanding your words as a sacrifice.
One sees a few people broaching the question, “If I work on an old novel/write my novel backwards/draw a graphic novel/do anything that doesn’t look like I’m writing a novel from scratch, is that gonna be cool, or am I gonna be a rebel?” Good question there, Little Timmy. There aren’t any hard and fast rules other than to write fifty thousand words in thirty days. There aren’t any others, and the NaNo Police won’t come for you when you break any of these imaginary laws one may think exists.
It’s all about writing. There were people who worked on the same novel over the course of two NaNos, and a couple of them published. People have worked on screenplays. People have done a version of a graphic novel. Didn’t matter what they did, they were writing. In the end that’s the important part.
After a few days of contemplation, I’ve decided I’m going to be a rebel as well. I’m going to do NaNo by not doing it– Wait, what?
Allow me to explain.
Other than the short story I wrote a month ago, I’m not dong much of anything else. Part of that reason is because I’ve done two moves in a month, part of the reason is I finished up the edits on a novel. But a big part of the reason has been waiting for November to roll into town. You don’t want to start on a project because, hey, NaNo is coming and you don’t want to be in the middle of something when that happens.
So I’ve been puttering around doing other things–the same thing I’ve been doing most of the summer when I’m not, you know, writing. I’ve been preparing and getting myself into the right mindset to burn through fifty thousand words in thirty nights–mostly nights because my days are already taken–and I’m betting my Is and Ts in their proper places–
In the meantime I’m not writing.
I’m pretty much at the point where with another week of prep work I’m ready to begin. I’m ready to start my first scene with a young girl standing under the branches of a tree growing upon the shore of a lake, thinking about the day ahead while the sun rises over the Bulgarian mountains. It’s there, baby, ready to become great or suck to high heaven.
For either of those events to happen it has to get out of me.
Screw it, then. When I’m ready to go, I’ll go. I’ll start writing. When I get to 1 November I’ll begin keeping track of my word counts. If I do fifty thousand words over the course of the month, I’ll post it and collect my “win”, which means I’ll have all the winner’s codes I’ll give away once more. If I don’t get my fifty, groovy, I’ll set the novel aside for later editing and move onto my next project.
But I gotta get writing.
‘Cause if I don’t I’m gonna lose my mind waiting to write.