I’ve been tossing the idea of a “big” writing project around since we moved to Astoria. I haven’t really attempted to write any kind of fiction since I lived in west Los Angeles and I tried my hand at a few crappy screenplays. It’s true what they say about Los Angeles. If the cops stop your car and you don’t have your screenplay on you, they kick you out of California. They send you back to Kansas or wherever you came from. So be careful when in Los Angeles, and ALWAYS have your screenplay on your person.
The majority of my writing now takes place on this blog, where I write about road trips, and camping, and my kitty, and me, and myself, and more about me. I haven’t thought about writing any fiction. Not starting every sentence with “I” puts me out of sorts.
Like any person who “writes,” I fantasize about the Great American Novel. My problem has always been what the hell I could write about. Even though I have enjoyed writing since elementary school, it always felt recreational. I never dared dream about getting paid to write. Somewhere along the line, I internalized that it was too hard to make a living from writing. So honestly, I’ve never tried. The preceding sentence might be the single most honest statement I’ve ever made on this blog.
In November, there is an event taking place called NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. Thirty days, 50,000 words. People do this. It’s been going on for years. It’s not about writing masterpieces. It’s about writing something. It’s about writing every day. It’s about volume and just screaming through, instead of writing one chapter and endlessly polishing and fussing over it. Which is exactly what I would do. I would write one chapter and agonize over it for the rest of my life, and maybe never show it to anyone. I’d write one chapter and cling to it instead of pushing through and writing new words. I know me.
So I actually have a story idea. And I’m making notes on characters. I have a beginning and a middle, and a fuzzy idea about the end. I might need to do research on probate law, trusts and historic buildings. I might need to flesh out some characters so they don’t seem one dimensional. I might need to comb through plot twists to make sure they aren’t completely cliched and boring. I have a lot of work to do. But all that will take place in December.
In November, I’ll just need to write, write, write. And it’s going to be crap. Complete, utter crap. I will have to loosen my grip, turn down my neuroticism, silence the inner critic, and just write.
30 days, 50,000 words equals 1,666 words a day. I know some of my blog posts are around that long. But writing fiction has always been harder for me, and I know it will take longer. I’ll take my laptop, disconnect it from the internet, and sit in a quiet room by myself. I’m not sure how many hours a day I will need.
We’re busy. And we’re working. And we ought to get out of the house sometimes. And we really ought to exercise. And sometimes we like to go places. But if I can’t carve out a few hours a day now, when we are self employed and can make our own schedules, when do I think I’m going to be able to do this?
So, yeah. I think I’m going to do it.