A Non-Novel Experience

I’m sad, because there’s not a chance in hell for me to accomplish something I wanted to do. Mostly we all know what that is, it being November 30th and all. Yeah. I don’t have a book, and so for the second year running I have failed at National Novel writing month. I don’t have even close to the 25,000 that I scaled back to. I have about an eighth of that. The question I kept being asked during November, and which I find myself asking even now, is why? Why do I want to write a book in the first place?

Well, I didn’t, dummy. That’s the whole point of putting it on a blog, is that it’s not a book. It’s just a steady output. It’s a constant stream of writing, that, while perhaps over-effluent at times and perhaps a tad indulgently repetitive, et cetera, et cetera, it’s writing. And I remember enjoying writing.

I remember that when I was in eighth grade I joined “Writer’s Circle.” It was a bunch of geeks who got together every Friday… in a circle… and read stuff they had written. It’s how I met one of my best friends, Lauren. It’s when I wrote my first full-length story, and where I got some of these weird ideas in my head that still stick around there even though they’ve never been justified—like that one shouldn’t repeat nouns, adjectives, or non-common verbs within a 1-page radius, and that the sentence structure should alternate. Like this. Short, long, short, long, personal, non-personal, object-based, perceptive, non-personal, personal, et cetera. Et cetera. Et cetera. And it’s where the very beginnings of what I now generally think of as “flair” started: little stylistic, randomly emergent oddities that occur as the writing turns in on itself. Like this one. It brought about my writer’s philosophy, so to speak.

This experiment was just something to try to walk further down that path. Like the fair-weather flagellant that I am, most likely I’ll come back next year with high hopes. I’ll do the same thing. I’ll make compromises and I might not meet them. Probably won’t. And I’ll make the same apologies to myself. I might start in October just to cheat, like some I know who actually made it… I’m looking at you, Miss 60,000. I’ll do it all over. I’m not that sad about it, anymore. Better to have dreams and not attain them then to not have dreams at all.

Managing Expectations

Pause. Uh, backtrack. 50,000 is too much. I’m way too busy to write a “novel” novel, you know? So let’s not do that. Making up my own rules, and with full knowledge that I’m able to edit this post at any time, I hereby commit to half-ass Nanowrimo. 25,000 words, 833 a day. At least one post a day. That sounds right, right? I don’t want to be a burden. I mean, I’m doing this for the readers since I know that most of you, also, lead busy lives of excitement and intrigue and working a lot. Let’s just say I have a lot to say. And at least for this month I shall rely on my gift for conciseness.

My Nanowrimo

I figured out how to do it.

I’m not a novelist. Well, I’m not one right now. I don’t have the organization, I don’t have the consistency of focus, I have too much cool stuff to do and not enough time to do more than half of it. Can I tell you about my life right now?

I do lots of things. Recurring things like the Dr. Hal Show, like Bad Movie Night, like events put on Chicken John, or Kinky Salon, or CSC, or the Cacophony Society, or the parties of friends. I write lots of stories and I post lots of pictures of the places I’ve been and things I’ve done. That takes up enough time. Then I go on roadtrips or clean up the backyard or buy stuff or perform a dozen other productive-lifestyle like things. Is one still a weekend warrior if one never has weekends off? Then I design websites. I practice Spanish. I read cool blogs. I do the things I want to and by and large I want to do the things I like.

Where do ya see the Great American Novel in all of this? I don’t. Last year, I decided I had a story to tell. And old story, a true story, a complex and interesting story from my own life story going through middle school in a faux-magic pre-Rowling semi-LARPer reality-fanfic microculture. It woulda been interesting. Living my life interceded and I never got beyond my one page of story and seven pages of notes. Seven pages of beautifully thoughtful, detailed notes.

Not this year. This year I take a different tack—why not write as I do anyways, here on my public blog glot? If that’s not good enough (which it’s not) I need to up the ante. What’s 50,000 words? That’s… 1,666.6 words a day. Wow, that seems like a lot. I’m gonna need to set up a counter. And I’m gonna need to blog every day. See what we got already… 333?! Man, I’m only 1/5 there! For one day! Well, I think I served my purpose nonetheless in announcing it. One last thing is required: a pledge.

I promise, for the next thirty days, the month of November 2007, C.E., to participate in Nanowrimo by writing daily posts on my public website (this one), toward the goal of completing Nano’s 50,000 word target, and heretofore shall not engage in ridiculous and repetitive repetition of words or word phrases, to the effect that they shall lengthen the length of my posted posts, or otherwise engage in raffish or disregardful writing which is not of “publishable” quality, nor shall I copy and paste IM conversations, run vast backlogs of Twitter tweets, or, for that matter, put forth any generally unreadable and un-paragraphical tripe, nor forget the audience entirely and engage in stream-of-consciousness narrative monologist activity, and will someday make that appointment for the optometrist like I’ve been hoping to, and shall to the greatest degree probable fulfill this promise to the greatest degree that I want to.

There you have it. Around 500 words, and most of them actual words. Expect more of the same, folks.