Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Commitment, Risk Taking, and Writing a Novel in 30 Days

It’s clichéd to freak out about turning 30. But now, halfway though my 29th year, I am realizing the much about life is a cliché and rather than try to pretend that I’m above it, I’ll embrace it. So I’ve decided there’s a few things that I’ve long put off as “someday” projects that I might as well tackle this year. Will I still have a mini personal crisis in April? Probably. Oh well.

It’s with this in mind I mention that I have decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month this November, which is basically a project that gets a bunch of people to sign up to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Of course some of the basis of it goes against my editor nature, to wit:

“Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.
Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that's a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.”

The other thing holding me back: I don’t really have a solid idea and while writing a novel is something I’ve wanted to do since I was six years old, it doesn’t seem like something I’m qualified to do yet—I’m not experienced enough, smart enough, talented enough, worldly enough. The real reason: I’m not disciplined enough.

Sure I want to write a good book (OK I want to write an amazing Pulitzer winning book) but I think what’s important right now is that I stop making excuses, putting everything in the vague future and give myself a deadline to actually get shit done.

I have written 10 pages of a screenplay, I have started work on stand up and storytelling acts, I listened to my “Learn Italian” tapes once, I have a million art projects and ideas that I’ve given up on. It’s time for some follow through.

Ps. All of this is a long winded way of 1) saying I’m going to be blogging a lot more in the next month to get in the habit of forcing myself to write even when I don’t feel inspired. And 2) making myself a little more accountable to finish since I’m announcing it to “the world.”

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