Use the words that live inside your head – Chuck Wendig

I fell asleep last night trying to come up with a topic for today’s post. I still didn’t have anything until I came into work, logged into WordPress and saw this blog post from Chuck Wendig.

I should really read his books instead of reading his blog and flailing around, laughing at his word choices and fake-crying because sometimes it feels like he’s reading my mind (and the minds of all other aspiring authors).

When I about 12, I decided I wanted to be an author. I’ve started numerous stories but never got very far (I think I’ve mentioned this before). I finally wrote a novel this year. And now that I’ve “completed” (it will be completed – without quotation marks – whenever I can bring myself to stop editing) a novel, I LOVE HOW IT FEELS AND WANT TO DO IT AGAIN. Even though editing makes me bite all my nails off.

I’ve heard about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), but never bothered to try it. Usually because by the time I remember, it’s already mid-November and thus past the halfway mark. Also because sometimes I’m lazy. This year, I think I’ll do it.

You’re supposed to set daily word counts, and the goal is to reach 50,000 words before 11:59pm on November 30. At first I was all “WHAT KIND OF MANIFESTO DO YOU WANT ME TO WRITE?” but then I realized that my own manuscript is 57,000 words (and counting), so it’s not impossible. I’ll be out of the country on November 30, so I tried making an excuse (to myself) about not wanting to commit. But then I read that, although November 30 is technically the deadline, you can “validate” your work (i.e. paste your 50,000 words into their word-count thing and have them declare you a “winner”) starting November 25. Curses, foiled again!

Plus, if you want to meet your deadline, you can’t edit (I mean you can if you want to, no one’s going to yell at you) which makes the process somewhat easier. Most NaNoWriMo participants don’t start editing until December.  You just have to write. Write a whole novel, put all your thoughts down, all your random ideas, no matter how irrelevant it is to the plot, and by the end of the month, you’ll have (at the very least) the basic ingredients for a decent book. Maybe you’ll just need to tweak a couple of things and BAM – instant manuscript. That might only happen in perfect worlds, though.

So I’m probably gonna sign up (maybe not today, just in case I change my mind right after I hit “publish” on this post). And then I have to think of what to write.

Do I write the sequel to my I-swear-I’ll-stop-editing-soon novel? Do I expand the short story I wrote last year in my creative writing class, the one I’ve been itching to turn into a novel?

Or do I wait until November 1st at midnight and just wing it?

I take a lot of my life lessons from Calvin & Hobbes.

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