Tuesday, 4 November 2014

National Novel Writing Month

Just before 1 November, the first day of the annual NaNoWriMo challenge, I saw an article. I can't remember what it was in. Maybe The Independent. Doesn't matter. The headline was something like: No one wants to hear about your book.

It was a well sneery piece about how hearing about someone attempting to write a book is so mindnumbingly boring and how NaNoWriMo is encouraging people to bang on and on about it.

Well, fuck that, I say.

I've been writing for years. I have dreamed about having the confidence, the commitment, the discipline and the fire to finish my book for years. Whenever anyone has asked me what I want to be when I grow up, the answer is always a writer. A writer of books.

I don't want to do it to become rich and famous, I want to do it because it's the only thing I think I'm good at. Because I want to create. Because I want to get my words out, and I want other people to read them and I want them to mean something. Doesn't matter if it's only to one person. I want to write.

And now I am.

Everyone has one book inside of them, someone once said. I actually think that's unlikely to be true. I have met a fair amount of people who don't seem to have a coherent sentence inside of them. But I've also met a tonne of people who want to write a book too but they don't have the time, or they don't have the commitment or they don't have the patience.

The fear of reading your first draft is real. Reading something you've written and having that moment where you realise it's a massive pile of shit is inevitable. And I don't believe any writer hasn't gone through that. As Ernest Hemingway said: "The first draft of anything is shit." And he knew exactly what he was talking about.

Fear has held me back for years. I've started. I've taken courses. I've prevaricated and I have found every reason under the sun as to why today is not the right day to actually do it.

I first heard of NaNo in about 2004 ish, I dunno, fucking years ago anyway. A few of my friends did it. It might have been the first year. I was envious. Because they were doing something that I felt I couldn't do. For years I've read books about writing, I've read books about writers writing, I've put work first, I've dodged the issue.

But there is nothing to do but to do it. And for whatever reason NaNo is working for me. I am on Day 4 and I have cleared 11000 words. Some of them will be utter drivel. I will edit the crap out of this. But, for the first time in my life, I know I will finish a book.

By the end of this month, I will have the first draft of my first book.

I don't care what snide may come. This is one of the most exciting things I've ever done in my life and hell yes, I'm going to talk about it.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. I giggle when I read 'some people don't have a coherent sentence inside them' LOL!! Write your book, then write another and another and never stop because it's what you want to do. I'm following my own advice.