NaNoWriMo 2011

Today is October 11 and October is nearly half way done. What does that mean? It means that National Novel Writing Month www.nanowrimo.org is just a few weeks away. That’s pretty scary and exciting.

For the past three years I’ve participated (and finished) NaNoWriMo, a crazy idea started over 10 years ago by a bunch of college students who wanted to see if they could write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Crazy idea. But they did it and the idea grew and grew to the amazing worldwide phenomenon it is today.

My first year I wrote a novel called “Getting Centred”. It ended up being several stories about these interconnected characters all woven together. It stated out okay but ended up kind of a mess. The second year was the best. I wrote a children’s novel called “And the Tower Came Tumbling Down” with a little help and inspiration from the classes I was supply teaching for. I still enjoy reading this novel and am working on editing it with my writing group, but more about that later. Last year, since it was my first time with a full time teaching job during NaNo, I decided to do something “easier” and write a memoir piece about teaching. I managed to get my 50,000 words written but I didn’t enjoy doing it as much. I love the unknown about writing fiction. I found with memoir, though I do like writing it from time to time, that there was no surprize. There was no trying to think of what was going to happen next or my characters telling me what they wanted to do because what I was writing had already happened. So I think I’m mainly going to stick to fiction this year.

Generally, October is my out-lining month. I do not write by the seat of my pants for NaNo. I outline, chapter by chapter what I would like to have happen and then I write it. But this year I’ve been very busy with school and focused on my new class, I haven’t had a lot of time to think about what I would like to write this year.

Part of the problem is that with my new writing group I’ve ventured into thinking about becoming more serious about my writing. They’ve been helping me edit my children’s novel and while reading it over again and again I’ve decided I still like it and I think it could be worthy of being published one day. That’s kind of a frightening thought for me but also exciting. Up until now, writing has just been a hobby, but then I think, why not? Why couldn’t I get published? I started looking into how authors get published. I read up on query letters and websites where they critique query letters. One thing that struck me is that it seems like in order to get a novel looked at, you need to have other works published. I’ve never been published, not in a literary magazine, not as part of a contest, not even on the internet, other than little bits of writing I used to post back in the Geocities days.

So it looks like if I want my novel to be taken seriously, I should first try to get some other stories published, problem being, I don’t write many short stories. Even as a child I had trouble with keeping my ideas small enough to fit into anything smaller than a novella. I have written some short stories though and I know I’m capable of doing it.

This brings me back to my NaNo idea for this year. What I will try to do is write 50,000 words worth of short stories. I will try to out-line some ideas for the stories in October and then, hopefully, I’ll have enough short stories when I’m done that some will be worth editing and sending off to different contests and magazines. I’m excited by this idea. I could be biting off way more than I can chew but the whole idea of NaNo is to push myself to do something I love to do.

Here’s to another crazy November!

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