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Just start.

Written by washwords on October 31, 2009 – 2:53 pm

I know, odd thing to say from someone who seems to have “just STOPPED” blogging, but…in writing, and in life, the thing is: start. Fill the page, fill your heart, keep going, don’t stop to nitpick, just go. Then go some more. That’s how you do it.

That’s the philosophy behind nanowrimo, which I’ll be participating in for the 4th time this year . nano_09_blk_participant_100x100_1.png I am a disciple of the church of Chris Baty, founder of this amazing program and worldview. So I’ll let him tell you more (from the nanowrimo FAQ page), one of my favorite passages in any published material anywhere:

If I’m just writing 50,000 words of crap, why bother? Why not just write a real novel later, when I have more time?

There are three reasons.

1) If you don’t do it now, you probably never will. Novel writing is mostly a “one day” event. As in “One day, I’d like to write a novel.” Here’s the truth: 99% of us, if left to our own devices, would never make the time to write a novel. It’s just so far outside our normal lives that it constantly slips down to the bottom of our to-do lists. The structure of NaNoWriMo forces you to put away all those self-defeating worries and START. Once you have the first five chapters under your belt, the rest will come easily. Or painfully. But it will come. And you’ll have friends to help you see it through to 50k.

2) Aiming low is the best way to succeed. With entry-level novel writing, shooting for the moon is the surest way to get nowhere. With high expectations, everything you write will sound cheesy and awkward. Once you start evaluating your story in terms of word count, you take that pressure off yourself. And you’ll start surprising yourself with a great bit of dialogue here and a ingenious plot twist there. Characters will start doing things you never expected, taking the story places you’d never imagined. There will be much execrable prose, yes. But amidst the crap, there will be beauty. A lot of it.

3) Art for art’s sake does wonderful things to you. It makes you laugh. It makes you cry. It makes you want to take naps and go places wearing funny pants. Doing something just for the hell of it is a wonderful antidote to all the chores and “must-dos” of daily life. Writing a novel in a month is both exhilarating and stupid, and we would all do well to invite a little more spontaneous stupidity into our lives.

Go forth, give it a shot, see you on the flip side, or keep watching this space for updates as I profess. I’d love your early feedback on my work in progress.

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