a novel idea

Last week there was a short blurb in the Portland Mercury that captured my attention. To be honest, it’s pretty much taken over my thoughts the last few days, so much so that I can think of little else.

Over the years, (and my that I mean my entire life since I learned to write my name), I’ve secretly pined and nursed a desire to write a book. Or a novella. Or a short story – SOMETHING, yet I’ve kept myself from even starting because of my fears of, well, sucking.

Chris Baty is the founder of National Novel Writing Month and he’s tripped upon a golden idea. It’s really simple and frankly quite liberating for a closet writer like me afraid to put pen to paper: 50,000 in 30 days. GO!

His hope is that this philosophy will give potential writers the “permission to write a laughably awful novel” and that in doing so take the first step in writing something really meaningful. Wow. Something about this idea really resonates with me! There’s something so absolutely freeing about allowing myself to write badly. Oddly, I’m comforted by this thought.

Apparently the Portland Chapter of Nanowrimo is one of the most active in the country. My husband even comitted himself to pound out a novel this month and well, I my will is pulling me towards comitting to the same thing.

So, 50,000 words in 30 days. Today’s the 1st, so assuming I start today, if I write 1,667 words every day, my laughably awful novel will be done by the Wednesday after Thanksgiving.

I have no idea what’s going to come out. I figure I’ll just let it evolve (or rot) organically and just see what I’ve got at the end of 30 days. Thankfully November is a bit of a down time at work, so I think I’ll have plenty of opportunities to chip away at my as yet undefined novel.

Excuse me now, I’ve got some writing to do.

7 Comments so far

  1. Irving (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 10:14 am

    Oh yes, your self-obsessed posts are SO fabulous, I’m sure your self-obsessed novel will be fascinating. [eyeroll]


  2. Ms. Juju (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 10:22 am

    Thanks for the positive, loving vibes, Irving.


  3. writer (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 11:00 am

    boy irving, someone didn’t get enough coffe this morning or something. why must people hate so much. this is an attempt to try something new, better oneself, not show off.

    try and be positive more, you’ll live longer.

    go ms. juju go!


  4. nancy (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 11:40 am

    Several years ago, the novelist Richard Ford wrote a remembrance of his later friend, the writer Raymond Carver, for the New Yorker. Ford recalled that, decades ago, he was having a horrible time with the novel he was working on, he was getting nowhere, and his buddy Carver suggested (and I paraphrase), “Then just write badly for a while.” It was the permission Ford needed. As a writer myself (working on a novel at the time), the advice/article made me cry. Yes, just write badly for a while, who cares? It’s how we learn to write.


  5. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 12:03 pm

    You go Miz JuJu!

    I’m going to do my damnedest to work on this, but I have a LOT going on in November so I’m hoping but really I’d rather have a NaNoWriMo in like August or something. Maybe I’ll have to just do it on my own. But yay for you!!! Please disregard Irving and if you accomplish it then let us know won’t you?


  6. Banana Lee Fishbones (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 12:06 pm

    Hey Irving, what would you prefer? We’re not impartial news reporters here. Give us some FEEDBACK instead of some adorable passive-aggressive whining and maybe we will sally forth and improve this site based on your every whim.

    Or not. Domains are cheap and maybe someone will want to read YOUR fabulous self-obsessed posts instead.


  7. Carisa (unregistered) on November 1st, 2005 @ 2:01 pm

    Ms. Juju, I think what you’re taking on is wonderful. I am reminded of my own “novel” in the works…I have been writing it for almost 4 years! I am ashamed to even admit it, but I just did. Perhaps my inspiration has gotten worn out…I currently live in Philadelphia, and I though I was born here, I don’t like it anymore…but my husband (a NW native) and I plan on moving to Oregon next year. Maybe I can catch the 2006 National Novel Writing Month and I will be more inspired living a new place. Anyway, I totally digress…happy writing Ms. Juju!



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