Hello to all you writers out there, this is Adair Heitmann writing today about my NaNoWriMo experience. Last October’s blog shared information about November being National Novel Writing Month. The contest is billed as “Thirty Days and Nights of Literary Abandon.” It hosted 337,618 writers from 45 countries this year. The purpose of the challenge was to complete a new 50,000 word novel in one month.
Imagine all those writers feverishly writing within the same erudite community during the same month. How could anyone not be psyched? I certainly was. Becoming a member of this intergenerational writing society was so cool! As authors we are often alone at our kitchen tables writing longhand on yellow legal-size pads, as our dishwashers churn away. Or, with open laptops, sitting isolated in a busy coffee shop, hammering out our stories, while blends of French Roast fill the air. Being an active participant in the NaNoWriMo literary adventure helped me feel a part of something larger and greater than just me.
However, I knew from the start that I only had time to brush the surface with NaNoWriMo this year. With my other professional deadlines and personal responsibilities, writing a new novel 2-3 hours a day would be out of the question. But I still wanted to play. I figured, I may as well enter and see what NaNoWriMo was all about from the inside. I had a ball, and the memories from my month are keeping me all a-flutter.
The entry form asked for a genre, which made me pause and think. As a mostly non-fiction author, how did I want to spend my infinitesimal NaNoWriMo fiction prose time? It was a toss-up between Satire, Humor & Parody or Erotic Fiction. Going into this with an open mind and a cavalier attitude helped free me up to recognize that I had nothing to lose. I may as well stretch my creative muscles, and write something outside my comfort-zone.
As November progressed I straddled my world of by day being a mild-mannered literary consultant and by night flying wildly in free expression. This lack of inhibition, however, caused me to be confronted with literary questions that I don’t ordinarily have to face.
1. As an author of non-fiction, my articles, books, essays, and blogs don’t require a disclaimer. But as I wrote in my chosen NaNoWriMo genre I started to realize that I may want to change my name. You see, I need my day job and wasn’t sure if the genre of my fictional piece would jeopardize it. Entering “NaNoWriMo-Land” had really inspired me to let my hair down, I’d become downright reckless.
2. As a parent of a budding teenager, I wondered if what I was writing might be an embarrassment. I can mortify my child very easily on my own without intentionally adding to it.
Then, through a Facebook connection I learned of a writing contest in one of my genres of choice. Hmmmmmmm, could I be published and paid very nicely for my new novel? I wondered that I might be able to pay for my child’s college education by writing with such freedom and frivolity. November found me juiced up every time I sat down and wrote. I didn’t even need an oven; the heat coming off my pages cooked the Thanksgiving turkey. Then I got to wondering, with all the time and effort I’ve spent building my writer’s platform with my real name, if I had a nom de plume for this new genre I’d have to start creating an entirely new writer’s platform for my pen name. Oh, when would I find the time?
My NaNoWriMo month ended as I finished fleshing out tantalizing characters, entwined with moments of dizzying delights. At the end of the contest, I leaned back, inhaled deeply, and smoked a cigarette. My month was like a good one-night-stand, filled with tantalizing memories, but I didn’t end up marrying the man. Will I date him in 2012? You bet I will. Delving into fun fiction was like stroking my hand along luxurious silk. Could I wear it every day in my active life? No. But would I put it on for certain occasions? Yes, oh yes.
As 2011 draws to a close, all of us at the Fairfield Writer’s Blog wish you a very happy holiday season. May Santa fill your stocking with your heart’s desires, and may the New Year bring you ecstatic hours of literary abandon.
Until next year, keep on writing!