National Novel Writing Month


The bulk of Hawser was written in about twenty days last November. The goal of the National Novel Writing Month is to give us slack-yokel writers our own built-in USMC Drill Instructor so we can stop screwing around and churn out a draft. It’s not really a contest, though they have winners (the way the Special Olympics does, I suppose).  There are also a host of events, cheerleading sessions, blind-leading-blind advice, musical recommendations… the works.

Now if this sounds like a way for a large number of wannabe writers to get together, feel special and blow sunshine up one another’s asses, you’re right. It does, and in large part it is. But my personal anti-social cynicism aside, it’s pretty cool to plow away at something great-race style. No idea of the route, we plunge ahead, racing ourselves to bang out between one and two thousand words every single goddamned day. And we are comforted in the knowledge that thousands and thousands of others are doing it too. And at the same time!

Last year, I was unemployed… my contract doing UX for a huge company that makes green tractors had come to a sudden, unceremonious end . I plowed into the novel, cranking out two, three and even five thousand words a day, day in and day out, until I “won” about two-thirds through the month. I wasn’t done, and it took until the end of January to finish the first draft. Then I went through three brutal rounds of revision with a couple breaks in between (over a course of five weeks I wrote twelve short stories). Now I have finally reached a place where my first novel is done, launched, published and lying there waiting for me to promote it. Which is what this blog is about.

But every day, I am up at 430 in the AM to write my two thousand words of the next novel. I’m just under ten thousand five days in, so not too bad. I need to average 1600 or so to finish on time. No cheating, either. That’s kind of the point.

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