On writing a novel

nano_09_blk_participant_100x100_1.pngKristin: It’s the end of the first week of November. As such, I have a confession to make: I’ve just passed the 10,000 word milestone for my NaNoWriMo novel. I’m sure you have some questions, so I’ll do my best to answer them.

What is a NaNoWriMo novel?

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month which takes place in November each year. The goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel during November. You can find out more about the insanity at www.nanowrimo.org. This arbitrary deadline is designed to help prospective authors overcome procrastination by getting them to commit.

But you’re not an author. Why write a novel?

Why engage in the arts? I’ve been mulling over the purpose of “the arts” for the last few months, from both a professional perspective and a personal perspective. And for me it’s about expression and the act of being creative. I find few chances to practice at being creative without a purpose. For example, we’ve just written a set of energy and resource scenarios. Creative? Yes. Challenging? Yes. But delivered for a specification. The opportunity to write a novel, even a very bad one, is an opportunity to be creative with no purpose. From the NaNoWriMo FAQs:

“…we do NaNoWriMo … because the glow from making big, messy art, and watching others make big, messy art, lasts for a long, long time. The act of sustained creation does bizarre, wonderful things to you. It changes the way you read. And changes, a little bit, your sense of self. We like that.”

How are you finding it?

Exhilarating! My characters are far more interesting than anything on TV, and I can’t wait to finish the days’ work to return to them. Interestingly, I’m finding positive flow-on effects for work as well. Trying to fit this in (around Jury Service, home refurbishments, children and an exciting suite of consulting and commercialisation projects) has made me more focused and I’m finding it easier to start and structure those long reports. Ancillary IP! (Thanks Gavin Artz at ANAT). I’m also enjoying the camaraderie that comes from knowing there are about 100 (maybe 400?) people in Adelaide (and over 100,000 around the world) all doing the same, all with varying levels of success.

Well, what happens at the end of November?

If everything goes to plan I’ll have at least 50,000 words of varying quality. And the satisfaction of knowing I was able to reach that goal. I might write more,  I might edit what I’ve got, or I might print it out and burn it. But feel free to send your encouragement my way!

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