Have you ever played pinball, watching the shiny metal ball bounce all over the place and hoping it would go up the twirly ramp and earn you a bonus round? This post is like a pinball being played by an amateur, bouncing all over the place with no real target. You’ve been warned.
I’m currently stewing over two things.
1. Whether to join NaNoWriMo. I really think it would set me up to fail to be forced to write a novel in a month and the perfectionist in me really can’t handle that. But I have this story idea…
2. My reading list. I’m currently reading three books: Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by David Brinkley, Widow of the South by Robert Hicks, and The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.
Wilderness Warrior is non-fiction and I absolutely adore Theodore Roosevelt. Like, to the point of obsession. As in I would stalk him if he were still alive. I would write a novel about him, but he hasn’t been dead long enough. I have an authentic letter he signed, a life-size cut-out of him in my classroom, and waaaaaay too many books on him. In fact, a fellow history teacher just gave me a set of books TR published. I squealed when I saw them waiting on my desk so it’s a good thing no one else was in my classroom at the time. It was a pretty loud squeal.
Widow of the South is historical fiction set in Civil War America. In the South, obviously. It’s pretty good. In fact, if it wasn’t historical I’d say it was literary fiction. And here’s the thing about literary fiction. I love reading it, but then it gives me an inferiority complex. I swoon over the metaphors and then shed a few tears (not really) because I don’t think my novel could ever really fall into the literary fiction category. I have the same issue with The Lovely Bones. It’s disturbing, mostly because it’s about the murder of a teenage girl and I have daughter. Every few minutes I have to wipe away tears, real ones. But the book is beautiful, exquisite even.
That’s what I want my book to be like. I have this deadline for myself on when HATSHEPSUT: FEMALE PHARAOH needs to be ready for submission. But if I miss my deadline I’ll survive. The world will not implode, the publishing houses back East will continue to exist. I’m used to being able to kind of slide by on a lot of things in life, but I can’t do that with this novel. There’s too much blood on my keyboard to give it less than 100%. It needs even more than that.
Hmmm… That got a little more reflective than I’d planned. As a reward for making it all the way to the end of the post I have a reward for you- a quote of the day!
I can’t write a book by Shakespeare, but I can write a book by myself. -Sir Walter Raleigh
Yeah, there's not a lot of sliding by that can be done with novels. They have to snap, crackle, and pop off the page in order to even get noticed nowadays. Never mind actually published.
That quote from Sir Walter is too true. We shouldn't even attempt to write a book by anyone but ourselves. It always fails.
I love that quote. Sometimes I'll read something wonderful and wish I could write like them, but I guess I should be content to write like myself 🙂
You should do NaNoWriMo. It will be fun–even if you don't get the whole 50,000 words written.
I didn't feel like I was chasing a pinball around at all. I don't know how that makes me feel.
We all owe it to ourselves to not only write the book WE can write, but also to give it our best shot. However, having said that, I like deadlines because it motivates me. I can work pretty quickly when I need to.
Good luck, either way.
NaNoWriMo would stress me to no end… it's too scheduled for my preferred type B mentality 🙂
Something to consider about Nanowrimo: Maybe the challenge isn't finishing, but developing a discipline in writing?
If you aren't writing daily, and you want to discipline yourself to it, Nanowrimo is fabulous. If you're already writing daily, and you want an added challenge to keep your momentum going or stretch those mental writing muscles, Nanowrimo is fabulous. It isn't just about pumping out the words, though that's how you "win" but as long as you're accomplishing your personal goals, you can't LOSE Nanowrimo. You know?
I've done it since 2002, and a good half the time I've been completely half-hearted in my attempts. But it's definitely exciting, even if you don't make it to 50K!
You've got some good points about NaNoWriMo. I do write every day, but having to write over six pages a day seems a little daunting. I'm doing well if I hit 3 pages a day during the school year. This summer I think I averaged close to six, but I had oodles of extra time at home with no papers to grade.
But I'm still toying with the idea. I know I won't hit 50,000 words, but I think it could help me plunge into this new story I want to write.