Here We Go Again.
First of all, happy Halloween! The time has come, once again, to dress in ridiculous costumes, watch horror movies, troll the neighborhood for candy, and if you’re anything like my me and my wife, patrol the remnants of the Golden Age while collecting trinkets for our friends back at the Tower.
This also means that tomorrow begins National Novel Writing Month, which has prompted the creation of an event wherein thousands of crazy people will begin racking up daily word counts in an effort to do the impossible: write a 50,000 word novel between November 1st and November 30th.
And I happen to be one of those crazy people.
I began attempting this back in 2005, and in the past 10 WriMos, I have successfully completed it once. For those of you who haven’t done the math, it amounts to 1,667 words per day, which really doesn’t sound like a lot. And for about the first five or so days, it really doesn’t feel like a lot, either. Then the magnitude of the thing starts to set in.
Writing is hard. I think that when my professors tried to tell me that back in college, I didn’t really believe them. Don’t get me wrong, churning out words that you don’t care about is easy.
But I have a superpower which is both a blessing and a curse: I care my ass off, and I obsess about words. It’s why I am frequently described as a “good communicator” in employee reviews, and it’s also why writing a quick blog entry every week has proven impossible for me.
So once the words hit the paper or the screen, there isn’t much revising to be done. This is because I have already revised them a dozen times in my head, which slows down the process significantly.
For the record, I wouldn’t trade it. I think that our ability to express ourselves through language is a sacred gift. And I think the care and severity with which I try to treat language is how we should respect that gift.
Our most powerful piece of technology is not penicillin or cellular networks or a two quadrillion watt laser. It’s language. Language facilitated the creation of those things. It connects us and allows us to communicate. It can build civilizations or destroy them. Words mean things, and they have power.
So my reverence for these powerful little vectors on the screen can make for a slow writing process, but I don’t really feel bad about that–it’s worth it to treat language with the care it deserves.
Luckily, the goal of NaNoWriMo is not to create a finished novel in a month. That would be more or less impossible. In any case, by December 1 I will hopefully have a first draft of a story that’s been rattling around my head for a while now.
I’ll bet you’ve got a story that’s been rattling around your head for a while, too. It might be time to try to get it written down. If not now, when?
I plan to update here with word counts and possibly excerpts (if I turn out anything I think is good enough to post). Have a great WriMo!
Thank you for reading. More to follow.