Hey, Writerly Women -- and a good November to you. Among fiction writers - and maybe nonfiction too -- this month has become as much about NaNoWriMo as it has about turkeys and football and giving thanks. It only makes sense to spend this four weeks here on Doorways talking about what the 'write a bazillion words in 30 days' challenge can do -- and not do -- for writers.
Odd as it may seem, let's start with an author who did so much for us as female writers beginning back in the Nineteenth Century - the brilliant Louisa May Alcott.
She would have approved of NaNoWriMo, although for her it was more MayJuJulWriMo. Sitting at that widened curve in the woodwork where you see the vase of greens, (just to the left of the window) which her father fashioned for her as a desk, Louisa sat down for 14 hours a day from May until the middle of July and wrote the inimitable Little Women.
Mind you, Louisa was living with her parents who were depending on her to write to support them. They basically said, "Go to your room and write!" Also, she was writing an idealized version of her childhood so the story was in essence writing itself. So, yes, to sit down and get those words down in a rush was absolutely what Louisa needed to do.
NaNoWriMo was for her.
But is it for everyone?
Is it for COLLEEN, who has spent months with me shaping characters and a wonderful outline? Should she then just throw down words she's going to have to go back and rewrite?
Is it for DAWN, who is writing the last five chapters of the draft of her novel? Does it make sense for her to get channel fever and crank out those chapters?
And how about LILY, who's starting the first draft of the second book in her series? She tends to be a pantser going in, so why not, maybe?
I know that for me, the quintessential planner, NNWM would make me a crazier person than I already am (which is a very scary thought, right?) I go to Walden Pond, absorb, make notes, come back and weave those into my outline, write the draft, revise the draft. So, uh, no, no 30 days of full out pouring it out. That does NOT mean it doesn't work for someone else.
What I see here is a great opportunity for each of us to --
* define and fine-tune our process
* set up our OWN challenges, deciding whether the ones presented to us suit our writing personalities
So what if in this month of November I present various possibilities and invite you to share yours? How does that sound?
If you want to comment, tell us if you're participating in NaNoWriMo and why or why not. No judgement. Just what works for you -- because as always, this is for you.