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Monday, November 7, 2011

Bon Voyage, my lovely!

My Internal Editor is twenty feet tall, has a head of steel teeth and a voice that cuts glass. She routinely shrieks at me: wrong! Wrong! Wrong! We’ve been together a long time, so I know she has my best interests at heart. But she can be, um, challenging. If you know what I mean.

This is why I found her a great deal on a month long cruise to… anywhere but here.

You see, the fun has gone out of writing. I used to write and listen to myself giggle. Lately, all I hear are sighs. Just between you and me, I think Ms. I.E. may have something to do with that. The harder I work, the more she shakes her head, clucks her tongue and smacks that ruler against the desk.

Yikes, that sound scares me.

When I looked up at my calendar and noticed that National Novel Writing Month was fast approaching, I gently but firmly encouraged her to take a little vacation.

NaNoWritMo is an event that started many years ago with a bunch of story-loving, Silicon Valley, smarty-pants types. It’s fun. It’s ridiculous. It produces the best marketing/informational/encouragement letters I’ve ever read. To join the fun, you pledge to write 50 thousand words in one month. That’s roughly the length of Tom Sawyer or The Great Gatsby.

During the month, you get regular messages where people encourage you to meet your goal, play along, try again, don’t give up, and just plain enjoy writing. (Last year, my favorite letter of encouragement came from Lemony Snicket. He began by saying: quit immediately and ended with a passionate defense of the healing power of story.)

How do you write 50 thousand words in a moth? Well, I’ll tell you right now, you can’t stop and craft every damn sentence, that’s for sure. You have blast out the words. Speed write. Type.

In the words of one of my favorite pop-culture mages: don’t think, do.

There is a scientific basis to this kind of exercise. When you use intuition, (or quick judgment,) to make a decision (or create) within your “area of expertise,” it turns out that intuition is a fairly accurate guide for making effective decisions. Good work.

Makes sense, really. If you’ve amassed hours of study and practice at something, your auto-pilot for that activity is going to be fairly skillful. You won’t necessarily need the kind of careful double-checking that you did when you first began.

Today is the 7th day of NaNo. I have over 7 thousand words under my belt. It’s been a shaky start, but I’m getting the feel for letting my intuition run.

Ms. Internal-Editor has tried to call in a few times. I let the machine pick up.

I bet she’s having a great time advising her fellow cruise members all about Dining Room Rules and organizing safety drills. I can’t wait to hear about her adventures when she gets back at the end of the month. Or possible later.

Cruise ships give their biggest discounts during hurricane season, you know.


MaureenAMiller said...

Best of luck to you, Julie. I know you can do it! And may your editor have a lovely cruise. :)

Toni Anderson said...

Good job, Jules! I'm a huge fan of NaNo but never done it. I'm always editing in Nov. Don't know why!!!

J Wachowski said...

Thanks you guys!
(Editting in November sounds pretty smart. Easier to incorporate all the holiday shenannigans when I'm in left brain mode on the writing front!)

Shirley Wells said...

Good luck, Julie. There's nothing better than sending the Miss I.E. on a long holiday. :)

I think NaNo is great idea but I've never tried it. Maybe one of these years I will...

Elise Warner said...

Glad you're having fun with NaNo. Perhaps your editor will be gentler when she returns.

JB Lynn said...

Good luck, Julie!

I'd like to send my I.E. on a cruise around the world, lol.

I wish NaNo occurred at another time of the year, but so admire everyone who is tackling it this month!

Marcelle Dubé said...

I would love to place my I.E. on a slow boat to China. And then sink the boat. Love the concept of NaNo but I've never participated. I think it works because you're so busy putting words down that you get out of your own way and let the story out.

Good job, J.

Julie said...

I think you're exactly right, Marcelle.

Elise, I'm hoping she comes back looking like a purse puppy instead of a giant devouring beast. We'll see. :)

S--maybe next year? Try signing up anyway, to get on the loop. The letters of encouragement are amazing!

JB,The book "No Plot, No Problem" was written by one of the founders of NaNo. It's a great read, if you want to know more.

Anne Marie Becker said...

Loved the image of your I.E. (and the picture - holy moly, is that scary!). LOL

I'm doing NaNo and LOVING the freedom to finally write new words. After a year of edits on various projects, this book is fairly leaping off my fingertips.

Good luck to you!

Wendy Soliman said...

You're mad, brave, on mind-altering substances. They are the only reasons I can come up with for such lunacy.

Good luck!

Julie said...

Thanks Anne-Marie! Good luck to you too! Let's check in with each other at the end of the month?

(That statue is actually in Toronto. I knew the minute I saw it, I HAD to have her picture.)

Hey, Wendy...wanna try it? I think you do. Don't worry. Everyone's doing it. (peer pressure writing--Can it work for you? )

Anne Marie Becker said...

Absolutely, Julie... I'll show you my word count if you show me yours. LOL (I'm "Anne Marie B" in NaNo world.)

Happy writing!

Wynter Daniels said...

Too funny! I'm impressed with everyone who is doing NaNo.

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