Confessions of a first-time NaNo writer: the Jitter-bug
By Kristine Meldrum Denholm
This is my first year attempting Nanowrimo, the 50,000 word journey, and I admit it, I’m anxious. I’m a non-fiction article writer, former journalism grad and former writer for a press office. Pretty decent at writing and reporting facts, feelings and guts. But do I have the guts to find some fiction in my fingers?
My previous attempt at novel writing went something like this: Had great idea. Wrote it down. Wrote a chapter one month. Another the next. Got caught up in kid-raising and my freelance writing business and put the book on hold. Momentum killed. Two years later, it sits on chapter 6…or 7. But who’s counting?
Then I heard some mumblings of Nanowrimo, how it forces you to write a book in 30 days. I wrote Mary Jo: Can I do it? What are your tips? Can I pay you $10 to do it for me? OK, $20?
Mary Jo, a Nanowrimo winner last year (read: expert in my book), told me to relax, I’ll be OK. Besides, she’d be my buddy. (I clearly needed one.)
Just like I need good deadlines. Deadlines are why I’ve had articles published. The deadline is what Nanowrimo revolves around, why it works. So…
Here I am. On the trip. Goin’ fishin.
Only, my thoughts are something like this: “I don’t have the time…Should I write out more of a plot outline? Stephen King says to not get bogged down in plot, it’s a quick route to something dullard….Anne Lamott says do great characters….how do I know what my character would have for dinner?…How do I resolve the problem that character is facing, though?… I have to pick my son up from school right now… I just don’t have any time…and why is the Tru-Green man here right now, because he really doesn’t need to spray because I need the kids to play on the grass so I can write…Maybe I should write out 30 plot points…Maybe I should bug Mary Jo again about Nanowrimo….How am I going to get 50,000 words written? I don’t have time…Will I be able to feed my family too? What if we all come down with the swine flu and I can’t do Nano cuz I’m at the hospital and oh gosh…I just need to breathe…”
Any other non-fiction writers trying fiction? Anyone one else have a case of the Nano jitters? Drop me a line, if you can bear writing just one more line…
Kristine Meldrum Denholm is a professional writer, published in books, newspapers and national trade publications. You can find her at www.kristinemeldrumdenholm.com or her blog for writers, “Stories of Life: One Writer-Mom’s Odyssey” at www.kristinemeldrumdenholm.blogspot.com.
P.S. I’m guest blogging on Kristine’s blog today – check out my thoughts on NaNo!