This year I signed up for NaNoWriMo: that's National Novel Writing Month. It's taken place each November for the past 14 years. The challenge: to write 50,000 words (about 175 pages) towards a new novel in 30 days time.
I don't generally need incentives to write novels. I've published three, have four more in my files, and am currently in the middle of writing my eighth.* My problem is that I compose new fiction very slowly.
Getting ideas in my head onto paper is hard. Until I've written it down, an idea is an unformed possibility. It's a series of images that I see taking shape. The act of writing fixes the image in time and space, like a written snapshot. My job is to not only describe each snapshot of my story, but make the story flow from one to the next in a way that makes sense. I can easily spend half an hour thinking of different ways a story might flow, to get from one snapshot to the next, and not have written a single word.
So, this latest novel I've been working on is about half-written. Maybe more, maybe less. I probably have another 50,000 words or so to go. I figure that if I am forced to get 50,000 words down in 30 days towards this novel, I have a good shot at finishing a rough draft before the year's end.
But, it turns out, that finishing a half-written novel doesn't comply with NaNoWriMo's rules. They state pretty clearly: "Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft."
Fortunately, the good folks at NaNoWriMo have given me a way out. Even if I've already written half my novel, I can still join. I'm just a rebel, in their parlance, and I'm welcome aboard. They even have a section in their Forum just for folks like me.
Check my blog. It'll keep you posted on my progress.
*Little known fact: most writers have written more than they shall ever publish.