Reasons I’m not writing:
- My dog is chewing on my laptop.
- My baby is chewing on my laptop.
- The skin on my knuckles is so dry that it cracks when I try to type.
- My yard is covered in leaves, and while I haven’t actually raked them, I’ve dedicated a significant amount of time to thinking about how I ought to be raking them.
- MAKING LISTS IS MORE FUN.
Reasons I am writing:
- The world is dumb and stupid and scary, and sometimes writing is the only thing that makes sense.
- I’m a kickass writer. (I am also, as you can see, quite modest.)
- I have a lot going on in my head, and if I don’t write about it, my husband has to bear the brunt of my neuroses.
- If I don’t meet the 50,000 word goal for NaNoWriMo, my students won’t respect me. (They may also jeer and/or throw things.)
- I’m sick and tired of how insipid most children’s books are.
I want to read stories about stolen shopping carts, pillows covered in glitter, dogs wearing tutus, shampoo with magical properties, dilapidated boarding houses, and shifty glances between people who don’t like each other but share an uneasy respect.
So that’s what I’m writing.
Wish me luck.
1. Attempt to remember your password for the NaNoWriMo website.
2. Press the “forgot my password” button.
3. Attempt to remember your email password so that you can retrieve your NaNo password.
4. Finally log in to the NaNoWriMo site.
5. Ignore all 77 of your unread messages.
6. Spend five minutes trying to come up with a title for your novel.
7. Decide that your novel’s title is Working Title.
8. Eat a piece of candy as a reward for coming up with a title.
9. Open Scrivener to a new project page.
10. Carefully place your hands on the home row of your keyboard and attempt to type a sentence.
11. Fail miserably because you’ve never been able to type with your fingers on the home row.
12. Reassure yourself that hunting and pecking is a legitimate means of typing.
13. Eat more candy.
14. Drink a glass of milk.
15. Put on socks.
16. Change your novel’s title to Fable.
17. Remember that Fable is the name of a video game.
18. Change novel’s title to Working Title (again).
19. Throw away all of the candy wrappers that you have accumulated.
21. Attempt to type a synopsis for your novel.
22. Remember that you have not planned out your novel.
23. At all.
24. You have no idea what to type. Your heart is racing.
25. Is your novel about fables?
26. Probably not. The title just sounded cool.
27. Maybe your novel should be a retelling of a fable.
28. Decide that your novel is definitely not a retelling of a fable.
29. Fables are lame because they have morals.
30. You have no morals.
31. You also have no ideas for NaNoWriMo.
32. Open a new project page (despite your old one being blank) and write down the first thing that comes to mind.
33. “My secret sadness is that I’m half a person.”
34. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN.
35. Maybe you should try to write a fable instead.
36. Open a third project page.
37. Write a blog entry about how not to write a novel in thirty-seven easy steps.
Since tomorrow is October first, two important things will happen:
- In order to better traumatize the neighborhood children, Dylan will change out our boring, ordinary porch light bulbs for spooky purple ones.
- I’ll start outlining my seventh (!) NaNoWriMo novel.
(I think we are equally excited.)
My mother is the one who introduced me to National Novel Writing Month, so she’s the one to blame for the past six Novembers. Six years of frantic typing, meandering plots, poorly-designed covers, and antagonists who randomly disappear halfway through the novel have not yet (if you can possibly believe it) resulted in a polished, complex story that’s ripe for publication.
Here are some things that I have achieved over the course of six National Novel Writing Months:
- 302,954 words
- Two finished novels and four semi-coherent “things” that resemble stories
- Carpal tunnel
- Several classes of students who, while incredulous at first, end up finishing the competition and finding themselves remarkably proud of what they’ve accomplished
- Countless grey hairs (the kind that make me look like a witch rather than an elegant, dignified author)
But hey. Witches are kinda cool. And at least I’ll have the spooky purple light bulbs to match.