We survived Halloween. I did not go into a sugar coma and Luna only had four groups of kids to threaten with her bark. The ringing doorbell really sets her off. Dog trainers will tell you there are ways to desensitize your dog to the bell, so she won’t act like a maniac when someone presses the button, but I prefer to have a large, barking dog there when someone comes to the door. Who am I fooling? I could barely train her to sit, much less ignore something as annoying as a doorbell rung by a stranger. But, it suits my purpose to have her there, letting stray visitors know that it’s not worth pushing their way into the house. Truth be told, if they did, she would probably just do a lot of jumping and licking, but on the other hand, I am not really sure what she would do if an actual stranger tried to come in the house when I was not here.
November 1st means it’s NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that participating writers will churn out 50,000 unedited words during the month of November. This is about the number of words in a typical novel. NaNoWriMo is the clearest illustration I can think of where you succeed by producing quantity rather than quality. Editing is to be done after November is over. I suspect that many writers who make the 50,000 word count are so sick of cramming 50K worth of words into 30 days that they celebrate the Day of the Happy Deletion on December 1. I would.
There are websites where you can post your progress. You can sign up for daily inspirational emails to keep you going. OCD writers can keep charts and graphs. At the end of the month, you have something you can be proud of — or not.
Me, I’m a cheater. Give me rules to follow and I can’t help myself. I start thinking of ways to circumvent them.
The way I write is to edit when I need a little break from creating the story, which can be as often as every couple of pages. I can’t imagine blithely moving along from a really terrible paragraph, spewing out more junk and not going back to fix it. My other habit, which makes NaNoWriMo an extreme challenge, is that I jump from project to project. At any given time, I have seven stories going, one near complete and the rest have terrific, really terrific, beginnings. I lose my focus too easily to stick with one story for a whole month. I also fear the horrible possibility that I would pick the wrong storyline for NaNoWriMo and be stuck with it. If I was going to follow the rules, that is.
I have started work on a November novel maybe three or four times in the past ten years. I’ve never made it past the 10th day. Last year, I thought maybe I would but Daisy the German shepherd got sick suddenly, had surgery and was diagnosed with hermangiosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer. She didn’t have much time left and I was unable to write, to do anything but worry and be scared, after getting the bad news.
This year, no excuses so far. I pulled out the story I started two years ago. Edited the first two pages, and yes, I counted those as my words for the day. I told you I cheat!