NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us!
What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? National Novel Writing Month! Also called "NaNovember," because it takes place every year in November.
NaNo is a month-long writing challenge for creative-types to complete a 50,000-word first draft in 30 days, which averages out to 1,667 words or 3.5 single-spaced pages per day. (A page in size 11 Arial font (default for Google Docs) averages to about 500 words, including paragraph breaks and dialogue lines.)
In the spirit of the season, I've started preparing my novel (or at least all its various parts) for writing and also preparing a writing station (including my typewriter and this bulletin board here). You might be wondering "but isn't it too early for this kind of thing?"
It's not to early, it's never too early, how dare you think I'm too early? I'm fashionably early. *poses dramatically*
But in all seriousness, you may be wondering how I'll keep up my enthusiasm for the project if I start so far in advance of the actual deadline.
The answer is pretty simple, but maybe not what you're actually looking for: I don't intend to keep up my enthusiasm.
So, a very smart man who was paid to make a bunch of dumb but enthusiastic kids a little less dumb (one of my college literature professors) once told me something that I have never forgotten.
If you rely on inspiration and excitement to carry you through a story, you'll never write the ending.
Another very smart man (one of my theology professors) said something very similar.
If you need to feel like you're "in love" to justify marriage, then no marriage will ever last.
In sum - you can't, under any circumstances, expect a feeling to last forever. When Paul wrote "Consider it all joy my brethren when you face trials of many kinds," he wasn't saying "be happy all the time." It is not only unsustainable but also very foolish to think that any feeling, whether anger or happiness or excitement or pain, will continue unchanging for a significant period of time. I'm not saying that feelings don't last. I'm saying that relying on an emotion as long-term motivation for any task (marriage, writing, exercise) will not work. It's an unstable foundation.
Whew. That got heavy.
So, back to the topic at hand - I'm not going to try to stay excited for this project, though I will thoroughly enjoy it as long as it lasts. I'm going to use this excitement to set out my timeline and hash out a plot that works, and once I've ridden the wave of enthusiasm as far as it'll take me, I'll continue on foot, like everyone else.
Once I have a (sort of) outline, then I'll be able to keep going, whether I "feel like it" or not.
So my next question is this: