Nesting, NaNoWriMo, & Getting Ready For Labor

Tenby Harbor, Wales 2010 (click to enlarge)

I’ve been busy lately getting ready for a month-long project that will likely be a bit painful in its production. For the last three or four years I watched wistfully as others talked about their own birthing experience with NaNoWriMo and wished that I could spend the month of November totally engrossed in turning out at least 50,000 words hoping to have a reasonable first draft for a novel at the end.

Work and travel commitments have kept me from being able to focus on it in the past and even though I now have a part-time job, I plan to work my life around getting this done. I won’t totally abandon my blog, but you may only see me here a few times a week during November.

I’ve had an outline tucked away on my computer since going to Wales last March with John. He took me to his favorite haunts and shared loads of stories about the years he spent there as a teen. One tiny detail in a story he told me lit a spark that has evolved into the beginnings of what I hope will be an exciting, read all night, can’t put down, novel with a twist.

Elizabeth Harper - Tenby 2010

I bet you’re wondering why I’m standing on the steps in this photo … after reading the historical marker above my head, I politely insisted John snap a photo of me standing under it. I’ve had my photo taken in London at another house where this famous female author lived and was excited to see she’d been here too.

I’m not sure whether I’d been touched by the muse at this point in our trip. I can’t remember the exact moment when my idea began to take shape, but I clearly remember what John said that inspired it.

You will too when the story is told as it’s pivotal to the storyline.

George Eliot

When you add up the inspiration, location, and content for my novel …  seeing this commemorative marker makes it feel even more pressing that my story should be completed.

How about you … is anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo this year or do you have any experience with it that you’d like to share?

12 thoughts on “Nesting, NaNoWriMo, & Getting Ready For Labor

  1. Yes, I’m having my first go this year. Have to work around toddler and husband’s work shifts (and maybe a bit of housework), but still feel it’s just possible. Best of luck to you, and to Martha :o).

  2. I’ve tried NanoWriMo before, but my plot couldn’t hold up to novel length and it bombed. My twelve year old niece is going to try it in the young adult/children’s category. I may use it as a blog challenge instead of a novel challenge.

    You can do it! 🙂

  3. Only tangetal experience but you m,ight find it useful. Went to a class by Pilar Alessandra whilehere. Only 3 hours – but I could see the direction it would head. She cuts down a script to the key elements, that you then build up. I can’t see anything in what she teaches so well that is not applicable to the novel. So my suggestion is to go out and buy her book, (the Coffee Break Screen Writer) and listen to her free podcasts.
    Plus, walk a lot!!

  4. I’ve done Nano twice and won twice, it’s a buzz 🙂
    The first time I wrote the beginning of what could in scope be a massive epic and had a great time plotting it as I went. It was the furthest I’d ever got with a novel and gave me alot of confidence that I could write, which also helped me feel a bit calmer about writing my thesis.
    The second time I really wanted to write a novel again, but I was too deep in the thesis and had to be a rebel and Nano my thesis! It was not nearly as much as a novel…
    This year I am finding it hard to get motivated. I do want to join in, but my muse won’t co-operate, so I’m contemplating pantsing a silly story just to refind the fun.

    As for advice, it depends what you want to get out of it and how much time you can spare for it. The main advice I have is to not ever forget that it’s not meant to be perfect. It’s better to treat it as a large scale freewrite to prove to yourself that you can find the discipline to do it than to get stuck because it’s not quite right.
    Another bit of advice is if you do get stuck, it doesn’t have to be written in order. A first draft can be quite patchy and the edit can fill in holes. Write the scenes which inspire you first. Or don’t – the third bit of advice is to find your own way of working!
    Finally I’ll share a weird bit of advice which may or may not help. As someone who always prefers to ‘reach a point’ before stopping, that is apparently not the best approach! If you stop before you want to then you’re more eager to get back to it the next day and will pick up where you left off rather than struggling to find a new burst of enthusiasm.
    Good luck with it! 🙂

  5. I LOVE that you’re going to go for it. My mother always talked about her novel, but never made time to work on it. Knowing you’re moving deeper into the doing of your novel makes me really happy for you (and hopefully, eventually, for all of us!).

  6. I am not a writer. I wish I were. But I am a reader and every writer needs a reader! I can’t wait to read your novel! I read a few books every week. Some just fun, some thought provoking, some historical. I don’t read autobiographical novels on sensational “current news types”.

  7. Wow — I admire you for seizing the opportunity for this project! I know the only way to tackle a novel is to glue oneself to the seat and start typing. I’m hoping there’s a novel in me … and I know I would need a similar deadline. As a journalist for 30 years, I need deadlines!

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