NaNoWriMo...betcha can't say it three times fast! And please, not in my presence. So I signed up for the NaNoWriMo thing. Why you ask? Because I'm a glutton for punishment? Because who doesn't like starting the holiday season already completely bug eyed and sleep deprived? Because...well...because I wanted (still want) to write a novel. And being taunted and pressured has always worked well for me. Really, I'm that girl who got up at 6 am the morning a paper was due and cranked it out in two hours and got an A+, even though others worked on theirs for two weeks and didn't pass. Writing is just what I do. Always have. From the minute I picked up my first crayon and learned to write my name. It's an obsession. I don't write because I want to, I write because I have to. I have dozens of old notebooks filled with bits of writing. A scene here, a dialogue there, an old poem. I breathe, therefore I write. And it's not always good. And it's not always worth saving. Some of it is major crap. But I keep it because who knows, maybe it'll will be inspiration.
I've always wanted to write a novel. I've written poems. I'm really comfortable with short fiction. But a novel seemed like such a stupendous task. That's a lot of words. And a lot of time. And for what? Just because you finished doesn't mean anyone is ever going to read it. See the writing gig seems to me like a crap shoot. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. No promises. No guarantees. And honestly, I was super afraid. What if I sat there and nothing came out. And actually, that's never ever happened to me. But the fear is still there. Or what if I started and didn't finish? That seems like an epic fail. Or what if it's no good? I had a million reasons not to try. Until NaNoWriMo. So now that I've started? It's good. And it's fun. I still procrastinate. I'm still behind in my word counts. My plot has taken on a new twist. My characters seem to have a mind of their own. And I'm constantly asking people "what if"? And it feels good.
Now one thing I've always loved is when writers (especially my all time number one favorite, Stephen King) include how they thought of a particular story. Or how they write. You know, what helps them get the ole creative juices flowing. I think it's fascinating to find out how creative people create. So browsing the web last night while trying to sign in to NaNo (don't know whether it was the site or my computer but something wasn't cooperating) I came across this article, How To Write a Great Novel. And it was filled with authors (none of whom I'd ever read but apparently prize winners) and how they write. It was amazing. And the most comforting part? They're all scared. They all have the same insecurity about what if the words don't come? So obviously, I'm in good company. Although I was a little scared by the amount of planning and plotting some do and the elaborate methods. I mean I have a few scribbled post its but no super color coded outline!!
The other thing I pondered last night was when exactly do you call yourself a writer? See to me, I've always thought that it wasn't fair to call yourself a writer until you'd been paid for your work. Or published. Had some kind of recognition of your craft. When people ask what I do, I never say "oh, I'm a writer". I tell them I'm a Domestic Goddess. But I found tons of blogs and homepages through NaNo of other people who do call themselves writers even though they've never published. This is a dilemma for me. Really. Hubby says that since I had poetry published in high school and college newspapers I get to call myself a writer. But I don't know. Maybe I'm still waiting on the validation. What does anyone else think? Do you call yourself a writer? And if so, why? If not, why not? What inspires you? How do you write? Where do you write? Fascinate me...
happy writing to all,