NaNoWriMo: The Joy That Kills

Was it the desperate search for direction? As a writer, you’re always a sentence away from desertion. Was it the regretful qualm that external motivation surpasses internal drive? Or maybe, misguidedly, I sought again the comfort of knowing that there are others out there… putting pen to paper, caring of little else. Surly there must me a glorious reason for dedicating 30 days of my life to churning out 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month.

Yes, November is deemed by a power higher than my own to be such a month. When, just last week, I discovered the event via writer Viansa Blake’s blog, I nearly immediately decided against it. First of all, to splutter out a 175-page novel in 30 days is a heavy undertaking, though ambitiously achievable. But it would be pure dreck, and utterly unreadable. Second, I am in the midst of writing a wonderful story, with which I plan to do more than win a witless penrace. So, no, I decided, and went back to my knitting.

However, in spite of myself, I began to wonder almost feverishly… What would come of it? 50,000 words from scratch. 30 days. I wondered… I thought of the characters that might be born. Where might they go? Who might they become? I could not ignore the lure that was coming over me post-dismissal. As I  carefully peeled back the pages of the website, I already knew. I signed up with shameful haste.

It is a terrible idea, but I’m committed to it. I am giving way to curiosity. Beginning November 1 I will be stationed  on a green couch in my purple-walled office, sleepily meeting my self-imposed quota. It is a strange and elusive comfort that tens of thousands of other writers have taken the exact same plunge.

I fear, as I should, that I will damage the capabilities I have been meticulously weaving. Writing from the unconscious – from where you dream –  is not a feat lightly achieved. Still I fight the urged to think, to impose my ideas on my characters, as if I knew better than they. The enemies of perfectly feathered fiction are summary and analysis, and I fear an arbitrary deadline will coax me back into bad habits. It will have to be me that decides if the experience is worth its injuries.

Despite my obvious hesitation, the excitement mounts! Just 12 days left of sanity and clean hair.

If you are interested in participating in NaNoWriMo, please let me know! You can visit the official website to sign up.

Happy Novel Writing.


About Anna Dawes

Writer. Blogger. Vegetarian. I have two dogs that make me a little insane. I'm a nursing student. I read a lot of feminist literature; I negate it by obsessing over fashion magazines. I listen mostly to lovely lady singers, read mostly female authors, and spend most of my days surrounded by beautiful women. I consider words to be a delicate medium that only the most willing artist can bring to light. In another life I was a classic thespian. I have a purple office.
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10 Responses to NaNoWriMo: The Joy That Kills

  1. pc spiele says:

    There is obviously a lot to know about this. I think you made some good points in Features also.
    Keep working ,great job!

  2. Lovely sharp post. Never thought that it was this easy. Extolment to you!

  3. K.M. Weiland says:

    Never done NaNo, but I’m a big fan of it. It’s such a great motivator – not to mention a fabulous community – for writers.

  4. Pamela says:

    I’ve done nano twice, and I love it. I am panicked, b/c I’m working on rewrites on 2 books due in December, but desperately want to do nano, too. Oh, what to do, what to do. Found you on twitter. Love the blog. I’m a Houston writer.

    • Anna Dawes says:

      Hey! It’s so good to meet another writer in Houston. I am pretty excited about doing NaNo for the first time. I am trying to decide whether or not I want to start something entirely new, something that isn’t even in my yet. Or maybe I want to write what I have started to work on in outlines and character sketches. I think the latter. Because if I shelve the book I have in my head for a whole month I might not be able to reopen it on December 1.

      Thanks for reading my blog! I have been over to yours and subscribed. 🙂

  5. chuck says:

    The very thought of it sends chills running up and done my spine, arrrggg…. but it sounds like fun.
    What the heck it’s only a slight increase in medication, a few more daily pills and I might be able to handle it.
    Oh heck I forgot about the other four books I’m working on at the moment, Oh well maybe next year.
    Good luck for this year.

    • Anna Dawes says:

      I don’t know how you can work on four of anything at once. I am taking the entire event seriously, but using it mostly for motivation to write as much as I can every day. I don’t want to sacrifice quality for an arbitrary deadline. Thanks! Good luck to you too!

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