October 30, 2011

Rev it up

In the next month, one of two things will happen: I will disappear completely from the internets or I will be everywhere making a lot of noise and wasting a lot of time. Considering procrastination is often my go-to coping method, I’m leaning more towards the latter possibility.

Regardless, November is gonna be wacky. Two years ago, my November adventure got a wee bit side-tracked by one very small and very earth-shaking little plastic white stick. Last year, November past by unnoticed, fogged out in a haze of exhaustion, panic and the generally overwhelming sound of my newborn’s incessant colicky cries.

This year, though, all things are in order. My time has a vague resemblance of predictability. My older kids are in school at least part of the week and Jack has a regular nap schedule. We all pretty much sleep through the night. Most importantly, Kurt has a vasectomy (Sweet God, did I just jinx myself to hell and back?!). My crock pot is clean, Domino’s is on speed dial and my laptop is charged.

NaNoWriMo, it is ON. 30 days, 50,000 words. It CAN be done.

My original intention was to keep the adventure under wraps until the recovery period had begun, but I’ve decided on full disclosure. Talking to Kurt this morning about how we’ll survive the next weeks as a family, I realized the only way to get through is as a team. My friend Lisa and her 10-year-old daughter are also in on the insanity, giving us each the joyous permission to kick each other’s butts regularly as the word count piles up.

While some legitimate best sellers (hello, Water For Elephants!), have been born from this event, what most people walk away with are an enormous sense of satisfaction and a very shitty first draft. Anne Lamott would be so proud.

The best part of the whole shebang is that I have NO IDEA what I’ll write about. Oh, a few ideas and scenes are tumbling around in the oubliette I used to call a mind. But in general, come Tuesday I will sit down to a blank screen and type. What will come out, I have no idea. Mostly, it’ll probably be really bad. That is the nature of a shitty first draft after all. In NaNo the idea is to write; don’t edit, don’t go back. The only way out is through.

The point of it all? For me, mostly just to do it. I’ve been trying for two years. My friend has completed it at least once (twice, Lisa?). Of course I want to write the new big international bestseller that rocks the world and gives life meaning for a whole new generation. But I will be happy just to finish, to bring an idea straight through from one place to another (with as much blatant filler fluff as possible. After all, word count is word count, people. Git ‘er done!).

So if I start to post too much, feel free to comment and tell me to get back to work. If you see nothing from me at all... be proud, very proud. If I can write a pseudo-book in November (with all the months to choose, what were they thinking?!), a black hole of holidays, birthdays and Christmas hype, then I can do anything. (Hmm... I have to say I felt the same way after giving birth naturally to my son. Is a book like a baby? Or do I compare everything incessantly to children and childbirth? Probably both.)

What are you doing next month? How much coffee does it involve? If you’ve strapped in for this roller coaster, too, link up to me: schwartzmeg (I know, so creative a username).


Robin said...

I'm studying for my life. My final German test is on December 1. If I don't pass, I'll be back in your mother's basement by January. So, feel free to kick me in the pants too. "Shouldn't you be studying?" Why, yes, yes I should.

If we both work hard, I *know* we can do this. Don't let the Dark Monster get you, and I'll try not to let him get me.

I am really looking forward to your shitty first draft. It's so much better than a perfect nothing. :-)

Lisa said...

Thrice, and I officially have three very shitty first drafts to my name, yikes.

Go team: MegKiLis! Woot! We will rock the 50K word adventure!

Meg said...

Robin, I know you can do it, you've been working forever towards this one thing and I KNOW you can do it!!

Lisa, three shitty first drafts rock the kasbah. I just looked at my beginning manuscript from '09 and had to laugh. First off it is full on shitty. Second, you can totally tell where I found out I was pregnant-- I started copying essays and articles I'd already written into the doc so my word count would grow. I think I did that for a day or two before calling it quits so I could spend more time crying in a corner. :)

This year, no cheating. I even sat down yesterday and pulled together a basic idea and plot with few vague character outlines. I've had the title for about 20 years (literally) but now I have to name my main character. Female, mid-30's (big surprise, but hey, stick to what you know at least to start). Suggestions? I may go on to the porn star name generator and see what comes up, if you'll forgive the pun.

Suze said...

I'm with you cousin! Lets kick this out :D