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There is No Try

Full disclosure: The first draft of the novel I am currently writing, my NaNoWriMo project, currently has a word count of about 8,900 words. Given my intentions last month and the fact that I mapped out that bad boy ahead of time, I should expect to have a higher word count. I have no excuses (no legitimate ones, anyway).

What I do have, however, is optimism. I’m not interested in writing some woe-is-me post because of my stumble. As I strolled through my tweet stream from today, I noticed a strong dichotomy among my fellow NaNo writers as people posted current word count: those that are at or above the halfway point and happy about it and those with fewer than 10,000 words. Those in the latter category indulged in self-defeating, why-did-I-even-try self-flagellation.

Bear with me here, but I feel an overwhelming urge to quote a great philosopher: “No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.”

That Yoda was a genius, wasn’t he? He knew that once we let the word “try” enter our vocabulary, we have already failed. We only try to do something we don’t really want to do. (“Sure, Mom, I’ll try to make it to Aunt Doris’ house to see her latch hook rug collection.” “Okay, honey, I will try to remember how that works.”)

I am not going to try to complete my NaNoWriMo draft by November 30. I’m not going to try to reach 50,000 words by then. If you haven’t finished your 50,000 words yet, you should not try to do it either.

Jump off the self-doubt track and WRITE! It is what I will do. It is what you should do too. Will those 50,000 words be ready to publish on November 30? Good grief, no. What we will have is a product of our imagination, a story that threatened to burst forth from our brains if we didn’t commit to its telling – the very reason we signed up for this in the first place.

Do not give up.

Loaded for (NaNoWriMo) Bear

So, I wrote last time that I had almost decided to participate in NaNoWriMo. There’s no almost to it anymore. I have registered and committed myself to the insanity that is working full time and writing 50,000 words in one month.

I have seen some authors on Twitter asking what’s the big deal about NaNoWriMo if writers are supposed to write? It’s a reasonable question. I’m sure we all have our own reasons for doing it. My own reasoning is simple: having a specific goal in a defined period of time and publicly proclaiming my intention to meet that goal pushes me harder.

I want that first draft of a new novel — so full of promise of a world and it’s problems yet unexplored. My tendency in writing has always been to write, and then think of ways I could improve a bit a few pages back, and then go back to where I was, and then…NaNoWriMo will, I hope, force me out of my comfort zone.

I had already decided what I wanted to write and had begun mapping out my plot line. I knew the characters and setting. I had even sketched all the important points of a climactic scene.

Sunday, though, that all changed. I remembered a story that I had mapped out some time back and went looking on my hard drive. It was fully mapped with characters that I already felt like I knew. They seemed to be jumping around and begging me to pay attention to them. They win. That’s the first draft novel I will be writing for NaNoWriMo 2011, and I couldn’t be more excited.

What about you? Are you participating? Why or why not? If you are, what are you writing?

Writing in the Rain

As writers, we all know that writing every day is essential. Whether we are working on story outlines and maps, writing a first draft, editing, or polishing, we must contribute to our creative process.

Some days, that’s easier said than done. I get that. I have noticed, though, that weather can be a great influence on my writing.

The past fee days have been overcast, rainy, and cool. It’s the sort of weather that conjures up images of sitting in a comfortable chair with a furry companion snuggled close by and reading a good book.

While these days conjure those images for me, they have also been a great boon to my own creative process. I have made great strides in organizing the flow of my novel and sketching out scenes.

As an extra bonus, because I evidently don’t have enough to do and enjoy tormenting myself, I’ve almost decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

What about you? Does the weather seem to affect your writing? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?