Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

There’s Something In the Air…

Can you feel it?

No, no, not the tummyache that you have from all the Halloween candy you’ve been eating! I’m talking about that impending sense of excitement and delight known as NaNoWriMo, thirty days of profligate literary abandon.  WriMos (those who choose to follow the rules, that is) tear their way through 50,000 words by the end of the month, scribbling with fast and furious intensity.  That’s roughly 1667 words each day, for those who like to think about goals in more manageable “chunks” — a bit daunting, but certainly not impossible.

I have to admit, I haven’t always been this enthusiastic about NaNo. My friends starting doing it in college, taking November to churn out cheesy Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings fan fiction.  Back then, I was a much less disciplined writer.  I jotted down things when the muse struck, writing in long — but infrequent — chunks of time. I was also pretty skeptical of the idea that anyone could write a novel in a single month.  However, since then, I’ve discovered useful things like “editing” and “drafting” (not part of my repertoire in my youth).  Am I going to be able to write a perfect and complete novel in 30 days? Well, no, not unless it springs from my head armored and fully-formed.  But I can write the draft of a novel that I’ll continue to develop and refine in the weeks and months to come, and that’s no small feat.

I won’t lie — I’m a teeny bit nervous about NaNo.   November’s always felt like the month where things go wrong, when the dog doo hits the fan and life becomes more or less intolerable.  This is probably because I’ve spent most of my life as a student, and November is the Month of Doom: mid-terms, projects, papers, prepping for final exams. November’s also when I get crazy attacks of allergies and/or the flu, brought on by lack of sleep and stress — not the best time to try my hand at writing a novel.

But for the first time ever, I have been plotting.  I have a Scrivener file filled with notes and index cards and summaries of scenes and all sorts of wild stuff.  I have a folder bulging with location descriptions and profiles, and lots of research to refer to when I get stuck.  I have a story that’s unfolding before my very eyes, and the pure magic of it all is enough to leave me itching for the chance to write.  I’ve been bouncing around like a 5 year old on a sugar rush, and all I want to squeal is, “Can I start writing now? Is it November 1st yet?  Can’t I just, y’know, write the scene that won’t leave me alone??”

As Em and I have been saying for the past few weeks, NaNoWriMo should be about fun, not fear.  This is about the delight of meeting new characters and learning their stories, and the utter joy of discovering new worlds.  I don’t know if I’ll make 50k by the end of the month.  With papers to grade, books to read for school, and a draft of my MA thesis to write, I’ll be pretty darn shocked if I can pull it off.  Even if I don’t “win” (and as trite as it sounds, I think all WriMos are winners, whether or not they reach 50k), I’ll have a whole body of research under my belt, a kickass outline, and pages with words on them.  I’ll have the beginning of something special, and the satisfaction of knowing that I took a chance and aimed for the impossible.  As Les Brown said,

Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.

Those are pretty decent odds, if you ask me.

18 Comments

  1. Yay! I am so excited!!! I too am nervous about simply finding the time to write and about what I will do if I sit down and the words don’t come! But I am looking forward to the challenge and even if I don’t make the finish line, I am determined to have fun doing it!

    Thank you so much for getting the Fun not fear mash up together, you are a star!!!

    • That’s the spirit, Em! I feel like if all goes well, I’ve done enough preparation to *maybe* take me across the 50k finish line, but even if I don’t make it that far, I’m excited to have the experience and to jumpstart the writing process. I can’t wait till we start our Fun Not Fear check-ins! It’s gonna be so great to hear how everyone else is doing. 😀

  2. well done. you make it all sound like lots of fun

    • Thanks, Louise. I feel like I read so many articles about NaNo that dwell on the ‘survival’ and ‘fear’ aspects of ‘winning’, and I just think we all need to be positive. Yes, under normal circumstances, writing is a lot of work and requires concentration, dedication, etc., but it’s also about passion and enjoying ourselves. That’s the mindset I want others to have, as well.

      I really appreciate your comment. So happy that you’ve dropped in. 😀

  3. I’m nervous too, mostly b/c I’ve calculated my word minimum and it seems a little nuts, esp because I’ve mostly been in edit mode for my other wip for the last couple of months.
    But I’m excited too 🙂 Thanks for sharing and good luck!!

    • Oh gosh, I’m glad I’m not the only one transitioning from edits to writing. I haven’t actually picked up the pen to do more than a few bits of flash fiction and some brainstorming since the end of August, so I am feeling slightly daunted.

      We’ll just have to keep hold of all that excitement, won’t we? I think all the good vibes, warm fuzzies, and adrenaline will launch us forward. 😀

  4. Wonderful quote! I wish you luck with NaNo.

    • Thanks, Raelyn, that quote is one of my favorites. It always reminds me that striving for a goal, and not quite reaching it, is still something to be proud of, because there are so many lessons and skills that we learn in the process that are invaluable.

  5. I can’t wait to get started and see whether my small seed of an idea will grow into something awesome. Or not 🙂
    Sarah Pearson recently posted..Some very Special PeopleMy Profile

    • My feelings exactly, Sarah. There’s so much possibility that abounds at the start of NaNo (or at the start of any big project, I suppose). I can’t wait to hear how everyone’s ideas fare by the end of the month. 😀

  6. Good luck with it. NaNo still sounds too scary for me to be officially involved, but in spirit I do intend to write a movie script during November–ought to weigh in well under 50k though.
    David A Ludwig recently posted..PatreusMy Profile

    • I’m all for the NaNo spirit! Seriously, I don’t know if I’ll make 50k, and I promised myself that I wouldn’t pressure myself one way or the other. I think there’s incredibly value just in the community vibe that seems to abound during November, and whether or not you’re officially ‘enrolled’ as a WriMo, it’s wonderful to tap into that community.

      Good luck with the script! What’s it going to be about?

  7. My feelings exactly, Lena. I’m way too busy, but also excited and hoping NaNo will help me get words down without agonizing so much over each section.
    And thanks for that quote!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Alicia! Yes, I tend to spend far too long polishing each section of my work before moving on, and I’ve found that it actually prevents me from finishing projects. I’m fully prepared to do lots of post-NaNo editing in December and beyond, but I will be delighted if I can lay down a decent foundation this month.

  8. I can’t help worrying that my plot and characters aren’t nearly as developed as I need them to be for me to pull it off, but maybe I just need to write it to figure those things out. I’m not the world’s best planner. It’s good to remember is it supposed to be about fun, not fear.

    • Alana, I’ve found that there are some things that I can plan, and others that don’t come together till I’m in the midst of the project. I’ve got faith that you’ll be able to pull off your plot and characters once you start moving. 😀

  9. Good luck with NaNo! It sounds like a great project. 🙂

    Also, you might try a Vitamin D supplement to stave off viruses. There’s a reason we don’t get sick as much in the summer! 🙂
    Lindsay B recently posted..Who’s Doing NaNoWriMo This Year?My Profile

    • Lindsay, thanks so much for stopping by, and I’ll keep that tip about Vitamin D in mind. I can use all the help I can get with maintaining my health this month.

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