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!

Every Idea is a Good Idea: Part 1

That's me with the bow. Yup, all these great ideas issue forth from that huge noggin of mine.
That’s me with the bow. Yup, all these great ideas issue forth from that huge noggin of mine.

Forgive me, dear readers. I have completely and utterly neglected you. I didn’t post last Thursday. I was happily celebrating my grandmother’s longevity, (she’s 80!) and I could not push myself away from the cake served fast enough to write a blog post. So, here is two in one day.

Every writer (and hoarder) is inclined to keep their old writings. Stacks upon stacks of failed start-ups or inspired scribbles that went nowhere fill and pad my room. Prompted by a conversation with my co-workers, I decided to go deep-sea junk diving and find my old stories. And promptly laugh at them. Unfortunately (or rather fortunately) much of my earlier writings have been lost. This happened when we updated our computer from an archaic model to a mediocre one. I didn’t think to save them from their fate.

And to build upon that, I was never really a novelist when I was younger. I read many, many books during my childhood, but I figured I would leave the beautiful story-telling to the professionals. So, I came up with a lot of ideas and a lot of poems. What follows are a few of those ideas (with snarky commentary) and even an attempt at a fuller novel? story? Er…let’s call it an excerpt in the next part. Let’s giggle together, shall we?


STORY IDEA #784: A girl dies with her braces still on. Now she must find someone who will take them off and discover who killed her.

23-YEAR-OLD COMMENTARY: An orthodontic mystery! How clever, younger Bailey. The absolute horror that someone might die with their braces still on will give you insight into how much I hated my own. The best part of this little premise is that not only does this young heroine need to undergo another orthodontic appointment in death, but she has to avenge herself! I would say grab your popcorn because this ending is going to be a doozy, but my dentist says the kernels will get stuck in my teeth…

STORY IDEA #785: A normal girl lives with her parents. A mutant becomes a foreign exchange student, who is trying to find out more about the human race.

More details:
-Mutant girl.
-Lives on a star.
-Doesn’t know much English.
-Can’t control her power.
-What’s her power? Starbolts???

23-YEAR-OLD COMMENTARY: I wonder if I was watching a lot of the Disney channel at this time to come up with this plot? And, is she a regular mutant? Like X-Men? Such freshly baked ideas, frosted with originality!

And finally, an attempt at a poem:

The Apple of my Eye

You’re my favorite
You’re the one
You’re my happiness
My sweet honeybun

You are the one I run to
My flower in the snow
You’re different from the rest
Like a big sore toe

You’re my ray of sunshine
You light the way near and far
But one thing really troubles me
I want to know just who you are!

23-YEAR-OLD COMMENTARY: Wouldn’t you love to be my boyfriend? Just when you thought it was really sweet of me to write a poem for you, I call you a big sore toe. That is romance, gentlemen. Soak it up.

The point of this is to remind you to laugh at yourself, and to not take yourself too seriously! If you need something to laugh at, just scroll up. We all have to start somewhere, right? (write?)