NaNoWriMo? + first page of a novel

I’m playing around with the idea of joining NaNoWriMo for the first time ever this year. Back when I was writing daily I didn’t worry about putting myself through this exercise since I was already writing regularly and substantially, but ever since my first pregnancy when I gave myself permission to “take some time off” I’ve had trouble with writing regularly again. In the last couple of months I’ve committed to writing at least a page a day and it’s working out decently. For a while I was beginning to wonder whether I’d actually ever write for pleasure again (beyond this blog, of course) – not because Grace and running a household and working full-time take so much time (they do!) but because I felt flat-out of ideas. I thought maybe the memoir and the novel I wrote were “it” – and I was oddly okay with it, even playing around with the idea of taking a sketch comedy writing class or evening acting classes instead. Then slowly, gradually, ideas started coming back to me. At first, an article idea for my local paper. Then, a couple of essay ideas. Now, I have a novel idea, a nonfiction book and a wide variety of shorter pieces bouncing around in my head 24/7, and I’m “writing in my head” again – constantly writing stories and scenes for plays and articles in my head. This “writing in my head” is something I’ve done that is as long as my memory, and the reason why I still write – if my mind is going to go there anyway, I might at least put some of it down on paper for my own pleasure.

Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t consider NaNoWriMo, since I’m moving along slowly and steadily with writing, but in a few month’s time I will be giving birth to our second child and I know for several months our lives won’t be normal at all. Since I have a novel idea – one I would like to pursue- I like the idea of using NaNoWriMo to get its general idea out on paper, and then return to it sometime post-baby to see if it still appeals to me. What do you think – does NaNoWriMo work in this situation? Have you participated in the past and, if so, did you find it helpful?

For fun, I thought I would include the first page of the novel I am currently working on…it’s totally different than anything else I’ve ever written – I’m “writing what I know” without it being a shaded autobiography.

Ginny Fletcher flaunted her cancer survivorship like it should be a learning lesson to others, and it was this personality trait that wore on Allison the most, making it difficult for her to focus on their already lengthy phone conversation. Instead, she found herself reviewing the many ways an attitude like Ginny’s was damaging to other cancer patients, from her belief tht a positive attiude could defeat the disease to her often shared opinion that an overindulgence in chocolate during middle aged caused her breast cancer.

“What I’m trying to tell you, Allison,” Ginny said on the other line, bringing Allison back to the task at hand, “is that I think bringing Max here, either prior to the race or the day of it, will affect moral substantially. Hisperformance in the lobby of the Mayo Clinic was transformative. I’m telling you – he becomes a dying white blood cell!”

“Ginny, I’ve told you, I’m not even sure we are sponsoring this race yet, let alone bringing Max Carter to town,” Allison said. “Hospital leadership hasn’t made a decision about this yet.”

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4 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo? + first page of a novel

  1. I smiled in recognition at all you have bouncing around in your head. I’ve got two non-fiction/creative non-fiction books, a children’s story (with a main character whose name I know!) and a series of short stories. They do bounce around! I don’t need NaNoWriMo. I need more discipline. (Hmmmm…. that sounds like a contradiction. I’ve always though NaNo might be a better structure for fiction writers, though.)

  2. I tried NaNoWriMo a few years ago, but a bout of H1N1 nixed my progress in the second week. I’ve never looked at most of what I wrote. Toy with the idea each year but keep finding excuses to not do it (like being out of town the first weekend). Meh. Guess that means that I don’t really want to do it, but a writerly discipline would be good for me. Good luck to you if you decide to participate. I think that throwing it out onto paper for future review & rewriting is exactly what one should do during NaNoWriMo. Nobody is going to get something into final form in a month.

  3. I did NaNoWriMo a very long time ago. I finished and had fun and felt good that I had actually written a novel even if it was very rough and very bad. But I learned a lot from the experience. I have no interest in revising and trying to publish, just the process of doing it was what mattered most to me.

  4. Shoreacres – I feel like if I am going to write in my head anyway, I met as well get as much of it down on paper as possible! It at least helps with my mental state and ability to concentrate, if nothing else!

    Anne – I actually think I am going to pass and keep going at my slow and steady pace – too many personal things (mil having surgery, husband’s travel schedule, pregnancy-related carpal tunnel) are converging for me to be successful!

    Stefanie – I think I’m going to pass this year…just too much happening! My page a day hand-written work continues to move along – I think that is just where I happen to be right now!

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