I’ve decided that this year I’m going to give National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) a shot. It’s daunting as all hell, as Holden Caulfield might say (before I took a leaf from Stradlater’s book and socked him one). The idea of writing somewhere in the region of 50-60,000 words in a single month is pretty nuts, to say the least. But you know what? Fuck it. I’m going to at least give it a shot. Mama didn’t raise no quitter.
I’ve had quite an inspiring last couple of days, if I’m honest. I’ve ticked off another couple of books that had been on my ‘to read’ list for far too long in Stephen King’s On Writing, as well as the aforementioned Catcher In the Rye, by J. D. Salinger. The former was illuminating; the latter, a testament to good characterisation even if it is at the expense of readability. By the end of Catcher In the Rye, I really just wanted to slap Holden Caulfield in the face until he was black and blue. To me, this is the sign of a fantastically well-written character; it takes a master to make you feel that strongly about any character. It brought to mind a similar situation in Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, where every single character – with the exception of Nick’s sister, Margo – was developed with such care that you ended up hating fucking all of them.
Anyway, back to the point. I’m going to have a crack at NaNoWriMo. When you break it down, it’s around 2,000-3,000 words each and every day. This more or less necessitates a huge scheduling change for me, in that I’ll probably have to get up around 4:30 or 5 am daily to write for an hour or two before work, just to guarantee some quality writing time. I’m naturally a morning person anyway, so I guess it could be worse, but either way, it’s probably going to be fairly jarring at first. I’m almost certainly going to need at least a few of my good friends holding me accountable to my commitment, on account of me being a flakey-assed motherfucker with an endless list of excuses as to why I didn’t finish something. So, if you read this blog, I have a favour. If you see me shitposting excessively – ‘excessively’ is open to interpretation and subjectivity, obviously – tell me to get the fuck off Facebook, and get writing. I mean, I could take the deactivation route as I’ve done before, but honestly, if I have to do that, it probably says a lot about my commitment or lack thereof in this case.
So with that decided, the only thing left to decide is exactly what I’m going to write about. I have a couple of ideas, neither of which are particularly mind-blowing, but ideas they are, just the same. I mean, considering I just finished reading a book – one that is universally regarded as a classic, mind you – that can be accurately summed up as ’16 year old kid is a fucking idiot whom you really feel like punching in the face the whole time’, I’d say that most ideas can have something half decent made of them. As it is, I’m not aiming to write anything exceptional. I’m not setting out with the aim to write the next 1984, or The Great Gatsby. I’m honestly just aiming to finish something because it is patently clear that what I’m currently doing isn’t really working. Four or five manuscripts in various stages of completion, none of which are more than about 20% done, over the course of a couple of years now does not a successful routine resemble. And besides, King really kicked my arse over the course of On Writing, and if his methods are good enough for him, they’ve got to be worth giving a shot.
I mean, what’s the worst that could happen, right?