Sunday, October 31, 2010

NaNoWriMo--Your Novel is 30 Days Away

I did it. I signed up for National Novel Writing Month. If you haven't yet, it's not too late. Be warned though, the website is moving slowly tonight. Lots of last minute writers logging in and signing up. Leave it to writers to put off action until the last minute. We are champs at procrastination.

Most Novembers I am already in the middle of one or two projects and can't commit to writing 50K words on anything else. This year found me between contracts and between writing projects, so I thought, "What have I got to lose?"

In June '09 my darling husband woke up from a dream and laid out an entire romantic synopsis for me. Most writers have dreamed something that might spark an idea for a book or make a cute scene in a novel, or is just a kick to play around with. But his idea had complete novel potential. Best part, it was a romance, typically not something he thinks about or I write.

That story has nagged at me since last June when I transcribed his recounting into 8 pages of a synopsis. I've made a few changes, expounded on a few characters and sub-plots, and I'm rip-roaring ready to go tomorrow.

If you haven't signed up for NaNoWriMo or don't even know what it is, check out the website. It's not that complicated. Nor is it intimidating if you clear your head, fasten your rear to the chair and let the characters have their way. That's the best thing about NaNo. No plotting if you don't want, no editing--it's absolutely forbidden. How else will you reach your word count?--no stressing over plot points and submission guidelines. The whole point is to see if you can actually bang out 50K words in a month.

Try it and prove to the world You Can Write a Novel. Prove it to yourself. What have you got to lose? You might even find gold.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time stealers

Writer Ben Erlichman shared his addiction to video games on his blog this morning. Actually it's a four-part post you should really check out.

Ben's confessions reminded me of my son. Randy is 26. His excuse for spending hours at Halo and others like it is that he can play with old friends and a cousin on Active Duty he doesn't keep up with any other way. He's even played with TJ Houshmanzada (not going to take the time to look up correct spelling) and Chad Ochocinco--receiver and former receiver for the Cincy Bengals. For an avid sports fan--and even a not-so-interested-in-sports mom, that's pretty sweet.

But in the process of keeping up with friends and making new ones, not to mention the fun he has mastering the games, he doesn't eat right, sleep enuf, or get any exercise. Sound familiar?

Ben's confessions reminded me the same can be said about any other addiction or pursuit that steals our time and keeps us from doing the things that will bring us closer to reaching our goals. Many of us would never allow video games to come between us and our writing time. Or TV or the telephone or other things we consider time wasters.

And not everything that keeps us from writing is a time waster per se. Housework must be done. The family needs to eat. We have to shop for the food to prepare. Then there are familial commitments, work, friends--the list goes on and on.

Even if we don't think we have any unhealthy addictions in our lives, we can use those necessary chores as excuses why we don't accomplish more. I appreciate Ben's honesty in sharing his addiction to video games with us this morning. May we be as honest in examining our own lives and the things we allow to separate us from our goals.