As some of you know, I’ve been toying with taking part in the National Novel Writing Month challenge.
The arguments for and against NaNoWriMo, have raged both here, elsewhere on the net and in real life. I won’t rehearse them, not only because I don’t want to bore you all, but because, frankly, I haven’t yet decided what I think...typical.
What I do know, however, is that I am going to do it.
There are a number of folk who have questioned my decision, in a way, not lacking bluntness and force.
Never mind the cogent theories that NaNo is no way to write a thoughtful book, completely counter intuitive to the very craft of writing...no, they just wonder why someone already making a living from writing would bloody bother.
I see where they’re coming from. I am extraordinarily lucky in that what I write, has to date at any rate, has been published.
Now, I’m not one of those who thinks you’re not a writer until you are published. I feel a writer is what a writer does and if someone is good enough to pay you for it then, fabuloso, icing and cake etc.
But once you are published, writing takes a very different place in your life than it did previously. For me, I wrote my first book for fun, never imagining anyone would ever see it. I enjoyed every second of it.
Then something wonderful happened and I got an agent. He sold it and I got a three book deal. Since then I have been in a whirlwind of writing the next book, editing the last, publicising the one before that. It’s very full on.
If this sounds like a whinge – it’s not. I wake up most days hardly able to believe this has happened to me. I make stuff up. I write it down. Some one pays me. How cool is that!
However it does mean that I have to be very professional in what I do. I have a responsibility to my editor and she has high expectations of me. Quite rightly so, given the thousands of aspiring writers who would swap places with me tomorrow.
There are also the expectations of the readership to consider. I’m not one of those writers who ‘just writes for myself’. Yes, I write books I’d like to read, but I’m not so self absorbed that I’m unable to be objective. When readers email or write to me to tell me what they loved about a book, I’m unlikely to think, well thanks very much but fuck you. I listen and learn. The views of those not in the publishing industry are often, I find, the most telling. I certainly take them on board.
So I think what I’m saying is that I am going to treat NaNo as a holiday.
The book I’m about to write isn’t for my readership, or my publishers. It’s not part of any contract, there is no-one waiting to read and edit it. No-one is planning its cover. Indeed I fully expect it to be rubbish and put it under my bed.
Perhaps, then, as a number of my friends and family have said, it is an absolute waste of my time. Time I could spend writing another ‘proper’ book.
Perhaps they’re right. Perhaps I’ll give up by next week. Who knows?
But in the meantime, I’ve signed on the dotted line and if you too are doing NaNo, come and be my buddy. My username is Damaged.
Let’s do this thing.