Another summer draws to a close. Soon the air will become crisp, leaves will get crunchy, and every food on the planet will be pumpkin flavored. For me, this marks the beginning of New Manuscript Season. It’s that magical time of the year when I will challenge myself to write a novel-length work.
Proving to all my friends and family: Yes, I am still quite unhinged, and I have written the book on it.
Every fall, do you start thinking about NaNoWriMo’s built-in goal and deadline as a Yea or a Nay?
Like me, maybe you’re a veteran author who’s done it before, or possibly committing to writing 50,000 words during November is new to you. Divided up to a daily count, it is 1,667 words. A big commitment. Still, it also has many advantages as you try to complete the rough draft of a novel, memoir, or another project.
In 1999, freelance writer Chris Baty started National Novel Writing Month, gathering 21 San Francisco participants to attempt a singular goal—to write a novel in one month. Having realized the limitations of a July event, Baty moved the second year’s festivities to November to “take advantage of the miserable weather.” The second go-around gathered 140 participants, 29 of whom completed a novel.
We’ve all become overly familiar with isolation in the last two years. While it’s undeniable that on a worldwide scale, the vast experience tended toward the negative, setting aside time to be alone remains an essential part of the creative process.
My children can argue about anything. Sudden shouts rise through the house to alert the family that a disagreement has reared its ugly head. My job is to intervene before violence erupts. In theory, I want to give them a chance to work things out on their own.
Fitting time for writing with a full-time job and life around it can be difficult.
Finding the time and space for efficient and synergetic writing requires not only a skill in time management but dedication, commitment, and … passion.
I let writing end up at the bottom of my to-do list, turning it into a hobby I can engage in only after everything else is done. It got so low on the list that I haven’t written for five years—sure, I write a poem a day, a journal daily about my fascinating life, and write a short story here and there.
“Everyone [attending the retreat] wanted the same thing: to be reminded of what it felt like to be pulled toward his or her work, and to be unable to resist.”
~Mark Salzman, author of TheMan in the Empty Boat
By Brian Kaufman
I’ve talked to writers who entertain the fantasy of writing a novel in prison. There are good reasons for this. We lead busy lives, and daily chores must take precedence. We work. We care for family members. We even rest and recharge.
Representation matters. I don’t think any socially conscious writer in the year 2022 really needs to be told that. However, I want to share the absolute elation I have felt at increasingly seeing characters I can relate to more frequently in recent years. It truly is the best feeling to stumble across yourself in books or media.
I have no passion for marketing. Naturally, at a recent writing conference I attended, sessions on marketing were at the top of my list. I learned about marketing through algorithms, marketing via the website, marketing at live events, and marketing through subliminal messaging.