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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

I’m doing National Novel Writing Month! (updated)

So, National Novel Writing Month is over… and I barely began my project (I wrote 3,271 words). A few days after I posted the announcement below, I accepted a paid editing job, because I couldn’t afford to turn it down, and that ate into most of the time I would have devoted to working on the novel.

Not that I want to knock paid work, but that almost felt like a little slap from the universe: Who do you think you are, imagining that you could write a book? You are not worthy of your own novel. You are only good enough to edit someone else’s novel.

Anyway, 3,271 words is more words than I would have written if not for NaNoWriMo, so I’m going to just act like December is National Novel Writing Month, and keep at it…

PREVIOUS: 11.02.17:

National Novel Writing Month — though it’s really international — is an event to spur writers to just get going already on that novel they’ve been dreaming of writing. Getting seriously into fiction is something I’ve been thinking about for a long while, and I finally figured I would give myself this kick in the ass. The idea is to start and finish a 50,000-word novel entirely in the month of November. The rules are not, of course, hard and fast, and some writers “cheat” by spending the month working on a project that was already in progress, or they do a lot of preparation (like plotting or research) beforehand. I’m doing NaNoWriMo “pure”: I have only the vaguest idea of plot, character, and setting, so I’m winging it. It’s exciting, and also terrifying.

My book is tentatively entitled The Righteous Guild Conspiracy, and it’s a Dan Brown–style mystery adventure set on a human-inhabited planet that is not Earth. If it ends up as anything readable, I will of course make it available to you all.

(This writing project shouldn’t impact my criticism work here much. I basically don’t get anything done unless I have way too much to do.)

I’ll stick a widget in the sidebar that’ll note my progress during the month, mostly to shame myself into meeting the 50,000-word goal. At the moment I’m only at 288 words, but that does mean that I’ve actually started. Hooray!

Wish me luck…

posted in:
maryann buzz
  • amanohyo

    Cool! Just keep grinding, even on the days you don’t feel like writing. If you get on it early every morning when your brain is fresh, you’ll make good progress. On tough mornings, it sometimes help to jump ahead to a scene that you’ve been looking forward to. Also, in this era of constant distraction, it’s almost mandatory to establish a strict no-internet, no-phone, time slot. Good luck!

  • Dent

    Sounds cool. Good luck.

  • Anna

    Good luck! What do you mean by Dan Brown-style?

  • Danielm80

    To me, the title sounds like the book you’d get if Dan Brown teamed up with Arthur Conan Doyle.

  • RogerBW

    Good-oh – hope it works well.

  • You’ll have to wait and see!

  • dkimmel

    Just sent the manuscript for my third novel off to my publisher. The trick — if you want to call it that — is to just keep writing, eagerly waiting to discover (just like any reader) what happens next. Don’t look back now. Keep going to the end and only then should you start the revising/rewriting. Good luck!

  • Danielm80

    You wrote three thousand words. That’s worth three pictures. Because I’m a children’s librarian, they’ll be pictures of colorful and sparkly fish. Also some birds.




  • Bluejay

    You are not worthy of your own novel. You are only good enough to edit someone else’s novel.

    First, of course you’re worthy of your own novel. But also — and I’m sure you really know this — editors are equally as valuable! Novels (and films) would be nothing without the editors who whip them into shape. The more I read these days, the more I’m convinced that the world is in desperate need of editors.

    And a month is an arbitrary (and ridiculously brief) deadline anyway. As you say, keeping at it is the key — not NaNoWriMo, but NaNoWriLife.

  • Danielm80

    You’ve almost certainly read this before, but it’s worth reading again:


  • Bluejay

    I have, and love, that book. I need to be much better about taking its advice. :-)

    Also, this:

    “There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.”
    — Martha Graham

  • Patrick D

    Never Give Up, MaryAnn! You have a novel in you, I know it!

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