Here in the beehive offices of The Curmudgeon, it is pleasant to hear the tap-tap-tapping of tiny little fingers on the keyboards. Unfortunately, all the tap-tap-tapping is coming from my office. I am participating in the National November Writing Month, wherein you write a novel of 50,000 words are more during the month of November. That’s why I’ve handed this column over to the staff, which is why it isn’t getting done. I’ll have to take away their company cars, and restrict use of the Bentley.
How, Crusty, you may ask yourself, can you expect to write a novel in such a short amount of time? Here’s the thing: It doesn’t have to be good. You’re not supposed to go back and fix things, or correct things, or spell check, but rather just keep writing. Even if you don’t know what comes next, keep writing. The point is to get a novel completed. You can go back and fix things later, after you have a rough draft.
This has always been my problem. I must make a chapter perfect (or as close to perfect as I am able) before I continue. Eventually, I don’t continue. I become frustrated. So I think, “This is the thing for me.” And due to my nature—and the fact that I write pretty fast anyway—I do go back and fix a little, but not too much. And it’s working. As of last night, I was about 1000 words ahead of being on track to finishing on time…and it’s pretty good.
I didn’t know what comes next, or who the characters were going to be, or what the plot was, or how it would end, but it all magically appeared, stepping into formation like a well-trained soldier. Is it putting a grind on my schedule? Yes, it is, but I’m loving it, and I’m going to have a novel when I’m finished.
So my point is, you can do it too. Start tomorrow. To write a 50,000 word novel, you have to average 1666 words per day, and it doesn’t matter if you’re starting late. Set your own schedule and stick to it. Do it in two months if you want. Thats only 833 words per day. And at this point, this post you’re reading is 385 words NOW. Piece of cake. That’s almost on pace to write a novel in 4 months. Surely you can double it?
Of course, you’ll miss all the groovy prizes, (a certificate and your name on some honor-roll thing, wow), but the biggest prize is all your very own. Your novel. Here’s the link for NaNoWriMo, if you’d like to check it out: <http://www.nanowrimo.org/>. And this is how many words it takes to finish in four months…NOW.