Monday, November 1, 2010

National Novel Writing Month

Before I started travelling, 2010 was definitely a year of all work and no play (with the exception of the Edinburgh Fringe). It was just the way I felt. One of the casualties was my lifelong love of writing for pleasure, which felt incompatible with my newfound love of writing for money and wondering where all the months went.

Although my writing talents arguably peaked at age six, when I wrote such modern classics as David's Wardrobe Learn's to Talk and Dr. Disguised as Beetle, I ploughed the creative field regardless for the next 18 years, at some point being allowed to get away with 'studying' creative writing for three years at University. But once I started writing corporate news articles and web pages for eight hours a day, the prospect of going back on a computer in my spare time seemed less inviting.

Now I have more time on my hands (Exhibit A and Exhibit B), I've started feeling the creative urge again, and have decided to embrace the insanity of National Novel Writing Month this November.

What the hell is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo, as all the cool kids are calling it, favours quantity over quality, and encourages struggling writers to produce a 50,000 word novel (or the first 50,000 words of a longer novel) between 1st and 30th November. The prize is the satisfaction that comes from having bothered to achieve something.

This would seem to be just the insane incentive I need, considering almost every major creative undertaking I've ever made has languished in development purgatory, after I planned it all out so excessively, and made it so impenetrably clever, that I was no longer interested in actually writing the thing.

I knew everything that happened, so where's the fun in that?

Looking through the sparsely populated 'Stuff' folder in My Documents\Writing as a starting point, I found two hastily written story ideas from earlier in the year that seemed workable:

One was an alternative history of manned flight and the space race set in a concave universe, where an inverted earth holds the sun and planets within it. I liked it, but it only has the legs of a short story.

The other was a more personal exploration of the social benefits and demonising effects of alcohol, which begins with a guy waking up hungover after a mad night out and finding a corpse in the bath. I liked this idea more.

A novel month

I'm a sucker for pointless yet demanding tasks, and NaNoWriMo has come along at just the right time for me to have a crack at it, and hopefully come out with something I'm proud of at the other end.

This is what our ancestors toiled and sweated for - freedom to indulge our questionable talents.

Thanks, ancestors!


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