Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Man, what a rush.

It's kind of like driving cross country non-stop, but noticing all the little details on the way. No, maybe it's more like eating the best meal you've ever had and savoring every single bite, then doing it again. And again. No, it's not like that either. Maybe it's like talking a deep breath and jumping into that icy lake; no matter how well you prepare you aren't ready for the shock of it and when you climb out you know you are utterly alive and want only to do it again. It's kind of like that. So far.

NaNoWriMo is like nothing else I've set out to do. It's a simple enough premise - write a novel in a month. Fifty thousand words (that's 5-0-0-0-0 words) in thirty days, quantity over quality. No excuses like, "I've been thinking about writing a novel for years," or "I just don't know what I'd write about." You just do it, full-bore writing with no time to agonize about the details.

I'd never heard about this before last month, when I was at the National Storytelling Festival and saw an old friend wearing a NaNoWriMo t-shirt. I asked about it, she explained and I thought, "Wow, that's nuts." A week later I signed up. This seems to be a pattern for me, I signed up for the Pan Mass Challenge the first time thinking it was crazy too.

So far I love it. It's encouraging a writing discipline I've always hoped for but never attained. When I get stuck I just strike out in another direction because this novel is for my own entertainment. I don't have to worry about what anyone else will say. And you know what? It doesn't suck! I think all the years of storytelling are a great help with plot and character and my risk tolerance. Something isn't working? Go in a different direction! Can't think of a word? Say something else! What's the worst that will happen? I write something I wasn't expecting that might be better!

I love the feeling of being in flow when writing and am finding it happening far more easily than I expected. I suspect much of it is that I have a deadline to work against (I'm almost at 12000 words so have quite a few to go) and that I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I win by even trying.

While I'm sure at some point I will be annoyed, frustrated, discouraged, embittered and about to give up, for now this is ecstatic writing. I suspect this has the potential to be another life changing event, again like the PMC (funny how those spontaneous decisions to be a little mad are the meaningful ones). I hope it does. At the least I hope I don't forget how good this feels right now.

I urge you to try something this grand and foolish sometime. It's utterly liberating.

(c) 2007 Laura Packer Creative Commons License

1 comment:

  1. Good for you, it is a lofty goal... But I have total faith you will attain it.


True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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