Monday, August 31, 2009

Dedication to the Craft

"There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."
W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965)




There has been a lot of chat out there recently about NaNoWriMo2009 coming up in November. The great debate, now, is whether or not to dedicate the time to the project. I am thinking that it is more than just giving up an hour a day to throw together a few words. Realistically, it will be more of a lock yourself in the office after supper, work until 10, go to bed, get up, work, write again, etc.

I question, at times, if I have what it will take. The j'en sais quois, the magic elixir, the brass monkeys...whichever one you best think describes the job, even if there were 10 months instead of just one. Today, over at A Broken Laptop, Mercedes M. Yardley has some excellent point on this very topic. She notes that she had wanted to write a novel for years but considered the task too daunting. She also makes an excellent observation in noting that "there isn't any magic involved." Those that did write a novel had finally made a commitment to do so.

I have always been the sort of personality that works best under pressure. Say 3 weeks are assigned to do a book report, I would wait for the last 3 days. My job works on a strict schedule to produce drawings to provide the manufacturing plant work. I took (ie. payed for) two night school classes in creative writing over a few months because I knew that there would be weekly assignments to force me to produce work. Perhaps I should look at the NaNoWriMo as a forced work project that lasts a little bit longer than a three hour class, once a week. Hmm... I guess that I'll mull it over, for just a little longer.

14 comments:

Natalie L. Sin said...

Or treat it like an eating competition, in which you must continue cramming food down last past the point of being sated.

Laura Eno said...

I do think that NaNo is just that...a built-in time table to nudge you into a commitment. I'm going to do it this year, my first one. Now, if only I could think of a storyline...:) I hope you decide to do it!

Anton Gully said...

I am bouncing with excitement about my second crack at the NaNoWriMo (I can now write that as a reflex).

I haven't written 50k words in the last six months, but I'll do it with ease in November. Get up a little earlier, cut back on TV, video games and basic hygiene. It's easy to find the time.

Absolute best way to convince yourself that it's possible to write an (almost) novel length piece of work. And it doesn't matter how bad it is, because what you write at the end will come easier and be better than what you wrote at the start.

Last year I was three weeks in before I even knew what I was doing. This year... watch your back NaNoWriMo, I'm coming for ya!

Cate Gardner said...

Oh you have to do NaNo, and it's amazing how many people actually finish their 50,000 words before Nov 30th.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Natalie- "...continue cramming food...past the point of being sated." That a different way of looking at it. I suppose you could substitute 'drink' in place of food, and pretend you're at a week end conference.

Laura- You're right. The 'built-in time table' is a good way to illicit commitment. Maybe we can all brainstorm a storyline for you!

Anton- Glad to hear that you're back at it again this year.

"...what you write at the end will come easier and be better than what you wrote at the start."

That's what I would hope to occcur...

Cate- Thanks for the support. I would just have to break it to my wife that I'll be around physically, and off in nano-land mentally for 30 days! Suppose I could set the alarm for 5am every day...

Rebecca Nazar said...

I'm doing NaNo this year, my own goal, though, a modest novella. The last thing I wanna do is get swamped and feel like a loser. But a realistic goal is always a good thing.

Aaron Polson said...

Do it, at least the once. It is maddening.

Jarmara Falconer said...

I have too many writing projects of my own to add one more. Good luck if you do, do it, Alan.

K.C. Shaw said...

I definitely recommend it. It's fun and horrible at the same time, but at the end of it you've got 50,000 words you didn't have at the beginning. Also, I like to race people. :)

Alan W. Davidson said...

Rebecca- I'm with you in setting realistic goals.

Aaron- Maddening...a ringing endorsement.

Jarmara- Thanks very much. If I jump into this, it looks like I'll be in fine company!

KC- 'Fun and horrible'...I suppose that's marginally better than 'maddening'. I think that I'm lacking your competitive spirit.

Danielle Ferries said...

Go for it. There's nothing like a deadline to get you going.

Kat said...

Trolling your blog Alan, lol...

I've never tried this crazy November thing. But I like a challenge, so I'm gonna give it a shot this year. Here's to hoping I don't fail horribly, lol. :)

Alan W. Davidson said...

Danielle and Kat- It will be nice to have people to co-miserate with! (that is, if one even has time to blog at all...)

Kat said...

"(that is, if one even has time to blog at all...)"

Really! :)