Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo 2010 — National Novel Writing Month, although it is quite the international movement at this point. The idea is to complete the draft of a novel by the end of November: 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s fun, it’s insane…and it works. I’ve wanted to take part ever since I found out about it, but certain inconvenient facts stand in the way:
Fact 1: I work in short media/genres.
I’m a short-work writer: poetry, flash fiction, blurbs, reviews, letters. I don’t think I even have anything novel-length in me. That’s why blogging appeals to me and actually sort of works for me: it’s perfectly structured for shorter pieces. But even then I have difficulty showing up at times.
Fact 2: I work as an editor/proofreader.
That uses the same parts of my brain as writing. Today, for example, I easily wrote the daily NaNoWriMo target number of words (about 1600, as I recall) in comments, corrections, suggestions, and correspondence with clients. The written language portion of my brain is pretty tired right now. I love what I do, and my clients seem to love it, too; I don’t resent or regret that my work on other people’s writing makes it very difficult to work on my own writing. But it is a factor that affects my identity as a writer and my ability to pursue writing as an activity (let alone as a career).
So there they are, the facts that face me on this first day of one of the coolest celebrations of writing ever devised. I have to remember that I am a part of it; my part just comes after the drafting stage, and sometimes not until right before publication. And for right now, at this time and place in my life, that will have to suffice.
I somehow think it will.