Friday, November 28, 2008

Buy nothing. No really.

Well, today is Buy Nothing Day, and so I thought this would be the perfect day to release into the wild my children's book that's not for children--The Little Veal Cutlet That Couldn't.  I encourage everyone to not buy my book today.  No, really.  I strongly encourage you to take this opportunity, on the busiest shopping day of the year, to refrain from rushing out to support your favorite struggling writer.  Instead, spend some time with your family. Do something fun.  Don't stare at your computer and spend money.  More information on the book is here.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

NaNoWriMo comes around again

Well, it's November and that means National Novel Writing Month.

I first heard of this 5 years ago when I was doing a sustainable building internship in Largo Canyon, New Mexico.  All day long for 5 days a week, I was on my feet working with my hands, doing everything from building a greenhouse and a strawbale pumphouse to making an adobe brick wall and welding.

At the end of the day, it was great to sit at a computer and use my head, trying to pump out 50,000 words in the span of 30 days.  It was started a few years before that by Chris Baty, who I guess tried to get some friends to all write a novel in one month. The next year I think they had a 100 or so friends join them, and it's taken off from there to tens of thousands of people around the year, each year trying to crank out 50,000 words in thirty days.  He expects that much of it will be crap.  But you can't revise until you get it down in the first place.  So just let it out, vomit it out on the page if you have to.  Because only then you can begin the hard work of rewriting.

After that first NaNoWrimo, I revisited it for the next few years, meeting the 50,000 word goal on three occasions, and failing on one.  Of course, the year I missed was the one time I went into the month with nothing--no outline, no notes, no plan.  The month kind of crept up on me, but I decided to go for it, anyway.  The result being that the month was essentially one big exercise in whether I could keep typing.  I learned that if I don't plan for it, I can write 28,000 words in a month.  But if I at least have a concept or a character in mind, 50,000 words in 30 days is no biggie.  (And yes, I do mean 50,000 not-necessarily-very-good words.)