NaNoWriMo and the Sound of Silence
A friend asked recently whether I ever take breaks from writing, whether I found that my soul needs space just to breathe, to step away from it all. And I told her the truth: I try but it's hard. I find it very difficult to take breaks. When I'm not writing, I'm reading or I'm thinking about writing. What I've learned is that in order to "take a break," I actually have to replace the writing I typically do with a different form altogether. So this month I've decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to finally get a rough draft of that novel that has been lurking inside you for decades. Over the course of thirty days, participants attempt to write 50,000 words because "The world needs your novel!" (or so the NaNoWriMo site encourages us). I don't know if I believe this, but I do know that I need to write a novel--if only for my own heart's sake. My non-fiction writing tends to be serious, thought-provoking stuff, but honestly that can weigh on a girl. I've been feeling the crush of ideas, marketing schedules, and writing deadlines; and I simply need a chance to step away for a bit. NaNoWriMo is that chance.
I grew up on Jane Austen, James Herriot, and P.G. Wodehouse. As an adult, I've fallen in love with Alexander McCall Smith and Adriana Trigiani. Not exactly literary powerhouses, but writers who love their characters and know how to make you love them too. So now, it's my turn. I can't promise that my fiction will be worth reading; I can't promise that I'll make it to 50,000 words; but if I find a way to learn a little, be humbled a lot, and regain a fresh vision for writing, NaNoWriMo will be a success. All that to say, if it's a little quiet around here during the month of November, don't worry. I'm just listening to the voices in my head.
And to all you who are also NaNoWriMo-ing, happy writing!