If I Had Enough Words

If I had enough time, I probably would have been able to post last night. (I’m really sorry about that.)

And if I had enough words, I probably would be able to write for the next month.

But unfortunately, I am short on both.

Which is why I won’t be posting for the month of November. (Or at least, very sparingly.)

You see, it’s always been my dream to write a novel. And this year, I’m going to take another stab at it by participating in National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo). Unfortunately, I had to choose. And while I cannot say enough about how wonderfully warm and fuzzy my readers make me feel on this blog, it is time that I devoted myself to one pursuit at a time.

Please check back from time to time. I may post when I need a break. And hopefully you’ll be back on December 1st because I will be, too.

(Just because I’m on a hiatus, doesn’t mean you have to be. Remember to go out there and make every day as special as a BaileyDailey day.)

World Hopping

Nerds lead pretty exhausting lives:

Oh, what’s that? There’s a seventh book to the series I’ve been reading? Better run out and get it. Wait, there’s a movie visually interpreting the other six books? I need to see that! But before I do, I need to buy this lemon squeezer because it has been printed with the image of this beloved series. Except, did I see that my favorite actor playing the starring role in the movie about the books is going to be on all of the morning talk shows today? Don’t mind if I do…

And so on. And of course, nerdy interests always multiply. Once one picks up one book, movie, or television show, there are four others waiting in the wings, or the queue, or in an Amazon shopping cart. They say the coward dies 1,000 deaths. For nerds, we live 1,000 lives in the worlds of other people’s imagination.

I mean, think about it. J.K. Rowling was scribbling on a napkin her ideas for Harry Potter, and now there are wedding napkins made with the color schemes of the four houses she created in her books. We nerds live in several worlds at any single time. It’s actually a wonder that we’re able to pay enough attention to this one.

But I’ve learned something trying to write my own novel, my own world. You have to decide to stop living in other people’s imagination before you can listen to your own. Of course, there will always be bits and pieces in your writing that come from somewhere else. Characters that smack of an archetype, prototype, or another character altogether. After all, good writing means good thievery.

But you can’t go on living in other people’s worlds forever. You can tell yourself that there are enough fantasy/sci-fi books out there. What’s one more, what’s yours? Just to add to the overcrowded bookshelf? I’ll just read all of the books in that genre, you think, I’ll see what they are doing and model my work after them…when I get around to writing my work, that is. 

But you can’t rob the world of your vision. We need more Captain Jack Sparrows, Hans Solos, and even Moriartys. We need whatever you are writing about. We need your book. So, stop inhaling the worlds around you and start breathing life into your own. Get writing.

I Signed Up For NaNoWriMo

I’m a writer, I swear.

I have a book of original poetry, I worship Shakespeare, and I am very particular about what kinds of pens I use.

But I have never completed the phenomenon that is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). For the uninitiated, writers sign up for the month of November to write their novels (that’s 50,000 words). When the month is finished, the writer submits his or her book idea in a competition, and a winner is chosen. For the non-math people like me, that’s about 1,500 words a day. Unfortunately, the only experience I have had with the organization is when my writer-friends were having mental breakdowns because they were unable to reach their self-imposed goal or were frustrated because people were lying about their word counts or were crying because they had killed off their favorite character.

Enter me, into this chaos.

I mean, I can barely write 500 words Mon-Thurs for this blog! Really, I’m complaining to all of you right now because I couldn’t think of anything else to write!  I’m literally writing about writing, and I can’t find much to say…

But when my really lovely friend Maeve suggested that we did this together, I had to say yes. First of all, we would be doing it together. So, we can encourage each other, and help one another if we get stuck on a plot point. Secondly, even though I have had a novel idea (get it!?) for years now, for much of my adulthood, I have not made a serious attempt to pursue it. Whenever I daydream, my head drifts toward my novel, but I have never tried to write more than one chapter. The question is: am I ready for this?

The answer: It doesn’t matter. Because the majority of my blog posts are something to the effect of: “follow your dreams/don’t be afraid of rejection/be who you are.” And, well, it is time I took my own advice, my own medicine. I need to make an honest attempt at pursuing my dream. And if I fail, at least I can say that I tried. At least I can say that I made an effort. At least I can say I have stopped living inside of my head.

Of course, this blog comes first. Always. So, if I have to stop writing my novel to update this blog, then so be it. Just promise me you’ll keep on coming back, and I’ll be here to feed your head.

So, goodbye October. Hello, novel.

Kick Writer’s Block in the Face

Writer’s block hits with more force than an actual cement block, typically. Especially when you have stupidly charged yourself with the lengthy task of writing a blog post once daily. No, I’m not complaining, and there’s definitely no tears of frustration on my face right now while I write this…

But just in case you don’t have the creative juices flowing at all times like I do, here’s a bit of a brain massage. I was inspired by this Time post that offered the beginning of potential novels for those writing them in the month of November. (Don’t know what I’m talking about? Refer to this blogpost.)

These offerings from Twitter were great, but I wanted to kick the level up a notch, pour a little hot sauce on the leftovers, kick a dead beaten horse, if you will.

So, here are another 50 ways to start OR end your novel in five words or less. I’ll let you decide. Eat your heart out, John Green.

1. Today is the day.
2. Green is my color.
3. You were sometimes mine.
4. There was a little blood.
5. The moon was hidden.
6. Bite your tongue.
7. Love is perspective.
8. Too much is too little.
9. It was a big gun.
10. He left his hat.
11. She was very ugly.
12. I don’t remember it well.
13. Her heart was sturdy.
14. The feather was incredibly heavy.
15. The shark bit his leg.
16. His shirt was torn.
17. The fire burned low.
18. She had no eyes.
19. Take a picture.
20. Smell the roses or don’t.
21. She never stopped falling.
22. Here’s the truth: I lie.
23. I spilled milk and cried.
24. Death is not the end.
25. This would be over momentarily.
26. Aliens aren’t green.
27. Puppy breath is disgusting.
28. The chandelier crashed down.
29. No one heard the scream.
30. It smelled like death.
31. What a dork.
32. She counted on her fingers.
33. Leaving wasn’t an option.
34. She might have been pregnant.
35. There were diamonds everywhere.
36. It wasn’t tomorrow yet.
37. Don’t be stupid.
38. He had some potential.
39. She had seven missed calls.
40. The drums were brand new.
41. He couldn’t grow a beard.
42. Santa was late.
43. She was magic.
44. He fell in a hole.
45. Hell was warmer than expected.
46. The ocean was dry.
47. His hair was wet.
48. Don’t quote me.
49. It was impossible.
50. The End.

So, try one out today. Try to start a story or short poem EXACTLY how you end it. It will make you appreciate how things work out in cycles. Or it’ll just make things a lot easier.

I Salute You, NanoWrimers

I don’t know how you do it, budding novelists of the world, but somehow, every November, you do. You write until the keys pop off your computer, and you torture yourself with any number of devices that will help you to keep your focus. A friend of mine was swept up last year by National Novel Writing Month and eagerly showed me her methods. “This website turns red when you haven’t been typing for awhile, and if it gets to be too long without you producing something new, it deletes your progress.” Trying to find the right word again after its been deleted by a machine feels a bit like a fresh hell to me. But every night she dug deep and met her goal without too much of her work erased.

For those of you unfamiliar with what I’m even talking about, we are deep in the throes of National Novel Writing Month. As I understand it, although I have never tried it myself, a participant completes 50,000 words by the end of November, thus creating a short novel. You can break it up into sections or, for you procrastinators, you can write the full 50k in one shot. There is no prize at the end; simply self-satisfaction, and a couple of new friends who have slaved alongside of you.

Thus, I will take a moment of my time to salute those who are able to complete this monumental task, or even start it. I will also congratulate you on the fact that you are almost at the middle of the month, and therefore, possibly in the middle of your respective work.

I can only imagine that you are only taking a few minutes out of your strict schedule to read this blog. Eating and going to the bathroom can wait.

If you are at all a follower of this blog, you’ll know that writing about 500 words a night for me is not even feasible, so 50,000 is quite unfathomable.

So, be kind to those word warriors. I have no doubt they are out there, living among you, tired and red-eyed from staying up the night before to really “flesh out that foil character.” And when they ask you to listen to a section of their masterpiece, sigh and giggle at the appropriate moments, for that is their blood and tears on a page. And when November is over, tell them to keep going. Keep editing, keep imagining, and keep writing.

After all, as I once heard: “Writing when you are inspired will make you a great poet, but it will never make you a novelist.”

Write on!