(borrowed from: Cammie's song)
It’s less than thirty days away. Less than thirty days for me to compile research and plot out the timeline for the novel I’m going to start writing on November 1st. That’s right, NaNoWriMo here I come. And I’m terrified.
This is the first time I’ve ever put “butt in seat” (thank you Ryne Douglas Pearson) for a long term writing commitment. I’ve done short stories and flash fiction pieces, but this will be my first time delving into a novel. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, something I felt I always needed to do, and yet it’s always escaped me.
But, with encouragement from dear friends, I have finally decided that I can do it! If you don’t have a motivating mini-you sitting on your shoulder, it’s always good to have that friend whispering, or shouting, in your ear: “Do it! Do it!”
I’m taking my first tentative steps forward in this task. And I am looking to What About Bob? to assist me in this journey. “Baby steps. I’m taking baby steps over to the door, baby steps out of the door, baby steps to the elevator, baby steps in the elevator….” Kidding aside, if I look at such a length of words all strung together, it can seem rather daunting.
So I’m taking it in chunks, to make it a little less intimidating.
I’m hoping to meet the 50,000 word goal by the end of November, but I’m also being realistic. I have a full-time job. I go to night classes three times a week. And while NaNoWriMo is plunging ahead full steam, I’ll also be writing and working on a research paper for my English course. If I don’t meet the goal, I won’t be too hard on myself. I will be happy with what I accomplish. So I’m starting a month early. I was supposed to start last month, but got waylaid by life, work, jam…
I know I’m not the only one who’s trying to find time to squeeze some novel writing in. Right? Who doesn’t have a crazy, busy life anymore?! And I don’t even have kids like some of you do! How do you find the time for your novel writing? Early mornings, late evenings, while driving in your car?
So I’m ready to embark. My laptop, Watson, and I are all set to go. My research has begun, my characters are being fleshed out (no, this is not an erotic novel!) and I have started the arduous process of plotting. And I’m doing my research (or as much of it as I can) before NaNo starts. I can be a pantser with my shorter pieces, but I know that if I don’t have a working outline, come November I will be staring accusingly at that stupid blinking cursor which will mock me at every turn. So I have a large corkboard hanging on my wall where I can hang notes, scenes, outlines, and photo references.
Also, I’m trying out the program Scrivener, which is a novel/research paper writer’s implement for outlining, noting stuff down and compiling chapters and chunks of text. Anyone else use this program? I’m using the beta Windows version, so far so good. I really like the way it works. I know there are pantsers out there who have tried, and succeeded!, at NaNoWriMo. I am so jealous of those people who can just sit down and rip out novels over time with nothing but the stream of consciousness out of their heads. I bow down to you. You know who you are!
I’m also looking forward to the cheerleaders: the people I am surrounded by who are also sitting down and taking this journey with me, who stand and support for everyone around them. My best support group can be found on twitter. Where are yours? Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your family at home: There are so many social media implements where we can find friends with common interests to keep us on the path and nudging us firmly forward. Support is so critical, especially for us writers who tend to be their own harsh critics. And you couldn’t ask for better people to be in your corner.
So I’m taking the tiger by the tail and moving forward. Shake out those pom-poms, Jennifer Gracen. Here we go! If you want to add to your NaNoWriMo support group, you can Add Me as a buddy on the NaNoWriMo website.
Somewhere between the fields of corn and soybeans, Janelle pounds away at her keyboard. After taking years off of writing, her self imposed hiatus has now ended. Aside from writing her first novel, she is currently getting back into the rhythm of writing by working on flash fiction pieces, which can be found at her Website. When she’s not glued to her laptop, she can often be found wandering around with a camera stuck to her face. When she is not playing with words or working on her photography, she can often be found volunteering at a wolf research and education park, where she works with her real-life muses. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.