Once upon a time I was absent on my blog because I spent the month of November participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I wrote more than 50,000 words, most of the first draft of a young adult novel, in 28 days. It was an exercise in time management, determination, shutting up the inner editor, quantity over quality, and attempting, in another creative way, to claim my identity as a writer.
Here are the major lessons NaNoWriMo taught me:
- Fiction is hard. I have written academic articles and picture books and haiku and blog posts, but fiction in the form of a novel is a whole different universe. I think I like it. I think I’ll stick around (while still, of course, dabbling in every other genre).
- I may never read another novel for pleasure. Of course I will always still enjoy reading fiction, but now I am conscious of all the STUFF novelists have to think about: acts, plots, character development, climaxes, dialogue tags, sub-plots, points of view, setting details, foreshadowing, building tension, etc., etc., etc. I attempt to read clues about the author’s process in between the lines of the words that actually make it onto the page: inspiration, outlining, editing, revising, publishing, soliciting feedback, tackling writer’s block (which I am discovering is a lot like Santa Claus in the writing world. Is he real? Is he a figment of your imagination?). Yes, many of these things nonfiction writers and poets have to think about too, but it’s somehow…different.
THAT’S GREAT ALISON, BUT WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE THEME OF YOUR BLOG? (I love it when myself yells at me in all caps. I did that in my novel, too.)
I’m so glad you asked! My novel is about anthropology and human-animal interactions, of course! I’m putting the wily thing aside for a little bit. I’ll come back to it with distance and some fresh eyes. And maybe one day I’ll be blogging about its upcoming publication… 🙂
***Special shout out to friend and fellow lemur lover, Monica Mogilewsky, for being my writing accountability buddy this month***