National Novel Writing Month is just around the corner and I’m awfully scared. Well, I’m also excited. Writers around the world are gearing up for one of the biggest challenges of their lives. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is no cake walk.
I need to punch out around 1,600 words on a daily basis just to reach the November 30 deadline. It was touch and go last year: I panicked after midnight on December 1, then thanked my lucky stars for Pacific time.
This is an excellent time to start doubting my story ideas. Why haven’t I developed my main character? Is the plot too “plain vanilla”? What else should I research in order to perfect the story period, environment, and local culture? What if I don’t stretch my hands and my ligaments turn into balsa wood?
Yeah, this sort of paranoia has been going on for the last six years.
I prefer to take notes before I hit the keyboard, but I have been known to start from scratch on a blank page. Last November, after a five-minute brainstorm with my wife, I abandoned several pages of notes and came up with an entirely different story on Day Two of NaNoWriMo. But I’m emotionally involved in my current story idea. There’s no turning back now. It’s a lot of fun, and the feeling of accomplishment each year is tremendous for my self-esteem. One day, I hope to publish a story and fulfill the ultimate goal of a writer. But for now, National Novel Writing Month is where I learn my chops!