August Novel Writing Month 2014

"Pick your word count. Pick your project(s). Beings August 1st. August Novel Writing Month. Because you can shower in September.
If the image didn’t give it away, I’ll be participating in AugNoWriMo [the link leads to the forums] this year; the writing event that is like Nanowrimo but better. I know what you’re thinking. But, Jess!, you say. You hate Nanowrimo, you rally against it more every passing year! You competed for six years and didn’t complete a single novel! It left your imagination a burnt out husk, and ground your adrenal system into a gossamer powder flavored by sleep deprivation, deep disappointment, and a general hatred of words written on paper.

All of these statements are true, and not nearly as exaggerated as one would think. [Really, ask my top four writing companions. I’ve had this conversation with all of them, many times over. Usually at least once a year.] But August Novel Writing Month has a few key things working in its favor. Let me lay them out in bullet point, because bullet points always make it look like I’ve written way more, even when I haven’t. Who doesn’t love that?

1. I don’t have to start from scratch. This is a huge relief. With Nanowrimo’s “start fresh!” mandate, I always ended up scrambling for a new idea at the last minute, and then burning out on it within the first two weeks. It played into one of my worst traits year after year, the shiny flame of the “new, better, oh so more magical” idea. Ideas are not my problem, as I said in my first journal entry, finishing has always been my weak point.

2. I am not expecting to write the entire novel in a month. I know Open Season (my planned victim project) slots into the science fiction genre. According to my research sci-fi novels land around 90-115k, depending on your source. I’m parking Open Season at 100k, because I like round even numbers. But! With Augnowrimo I don’t need to write the whole thing, I have the freedom to set my goal post where I want it, rather than someone else telling me what constitutes a novel. (Especially when that number is considered low by much of the industry, and the baseline for a novel is 60k.)

3. I am only writing 25,000k. I’m not going to slog my guts out for 100k – or even 50k – that I hate. Open Season may – maymaymay – be part of an extended universe, so I need to like these people – and myself – at the end of the month if I’m going to write in this same again. With 25k I can get a solid chunk of story down, while (hopefully) giving myself to rewrite and putter (like I do) without wanting to burn it all – or my computers or family – in a raging bonfire at the end.

4. I’m scheduling down-time ahead of time. Since my goal is not merely about a word count, or the end result of a novel, but enjoying the writing process, I’m trying to be smart and schedule days off. I spend much of my day in the office as is, that during a month where I’m planning on being hardcore creative, I’ll have to schedule time where my face isn’t in a screen of some sort. I need to see things like nature, my family and the business end of the shower-head. Otherwise my brain will flatline very quickly.

So that’s it. My goals, my hopes and my justifications I want this month to be about finding the pleasure and joy of writing again. Feeling the wash of satisfaction of knowing that I can put good words on the page, even on my ugliest days. It’s not just about meeting some arbitary goal, but about giving myself the opportunity to swim, uninhibited in my own imagination again.

If you’d like to learn more, click the image at the top of this entry, sign up and join the fray. 🙂

Categories: Open Season, Writing
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