For anyone who didn’t know, today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write 50.000 words during the month of November. My former professor and member of my personal pantheon of interesting minds, Roger Lathbury, did it a couple of years ago.
But what about this, then? To actually write 50,000 words in 30 days? Let’s break that down: it’s about 1700 words a day. Can I do it? Sure, I can write 1700 words a day.
In reality, I’ve probably written 5000 or more words in a day many times – but then likely spent the next several weeks marveling at where the heck that came from.
Generally, I’d guess that a single manuscript page for me comes in at about 200 to 300 words so, at that rate, 1700 words would probably clock in at about 5 to 10 pages. I read in an article about Twitter that Susan Orlean, a prolific tweeter, has a goal of 1000 words per day just in general. But since she gets paid pretty well for those words, if I were her, I’d make sure I got that much down, too.
Mediabistro’s Galleycat has far too many tips on how to deal with National Novel Writing Month – it seems to me I could probably get in at about 500 words in the amount of time it took me to read them. But here’s the link, anyway. The best one, for my money, is dictate. I’ve been using Dragon NaturallySpeaking – and am using Dragon Dictate for Mac as we speak, so to speak. The accuracy is pretty amazing, and my favorite part about it is that depending on how you set it up, it will format stuff for you. As an example, I really hate typing “5 o’clock.” It will also deal with the caps on something like New York, NY, formatting it correctly. I also like the recommendation to use a name generator. Especially for peripheral characters, I have a bitch of a time with character names. And it’s kind of hard to use the Garp (if you’ve never read the book, never mind) method – the phonebook – because I don’t really have a phonebook anymore. But I haven’t used a name generator, yet.
But what this really comes down to, is will I do it? What else have I got to do? (That’s meant to be ironic.) What with working on becoming a publisher and trying to find a job and all that. But I had an idea last night that could turn into something. Or could turn into nada. But everything starts as nada, nest paws?
So, for me, coming anywhere close would mean:
- Hoping no squirrels come around, because I am so gone.
- Not insisting on editing myself line by line.
- Just getting the damned thing out, and not worrying right now about whether it all adds up and is air-tight.
- Repeat #3.
- No research rabbit holes.
So if that’s going to work, then it can’t be cute, it can’t be overly literarily ambitious (a rabbit hole in itself, not to mention that just saying those two -ly adverbs together doesn’t do nice things to the mouth), it would pretty much have to be plot driven, and it would help if it were some kind of mystery.
Why a mystery? Mystery to me. So here’s day 1 activity. Almost 1700 words. Yay, me.