The calm before the storm

Six years ago my wife mentioned that one of her coworkers had told her about a thing where a bunch of people were going to write entire novels in the month of November. (In an odd twist of fate, later that same coworker was my roommate, and my ex-wife was the coworker.) I immediately latched onto the idea, as I had started novels before, but had never seen them through. Already I had been noodling on a story idea, and now here was an opportunity to do something about it.

I signed up and soon I was sitting at Callahan’s (the old location at the start of the month, the new location at the end), cursing the short lifespan of the battery in my Sony laptop, trying to wrestle long, rambling sentences into a long, coherent narrative. I barely made the word count by the deadline. I closed the file, closed the laptop for a day, and then started on another novel. I have written almost every day since that first NaNoWriMo. I have not read the product of the first year’s efforts; only one person can claim that distinction. Melinda reported that it had its moments, and yes, I was correct when I recalled that there was a lot of sex in it.

Of course, along the way I started saying to myself, “boy, it would be nice if my word processor did x,” and so Jer’s Novel Writer was born. Then I quit my job, took a road trip for several months, and moved to Prague.

All because of NaNoWriMo.

So, if you’re thinking of starting a novel on Wednesday, please be careful.

4 thoughts on “The calm before the storm

  1. Hey, no shit. In 2001 I retired in September, thinking I would devote the rest of my life to gardening and riding. Bwahahahahaha, the Fates said, and after my first NaNo, writing has taken precedence. (Except in those hideous moments where editing has devoured my soul.) No one warned me that writing a book would warp my life completely.

    How’s your itchies?

  2. I think once you commit and do NaNo (doesn’t that sound like a crime of some sort?) it pushes the writer back to the top. My case the first NaNo went well and I wasn’t grasping the problem with the making word count (a novel idea to me since I never counted words before then). Then I was later told I was just plain crazy writing as much as I do. I still write nearly every day. At times I will step away and take pictures instead or cook (both use same writer muse I think). Besides I now know what to do in November (not being a big Thanksgiving sort).

  3. Here speaks another NaNoWriMo addict :-)
    This will be my third year and there is no way I would be willing even to just start thinking about not participating. Before November 2004, I desperately WANTED to write but had no idea where to start after eight years of writing nothing more than journal entries and a couple of newspaper stories (exciting memories of my exciting teenage years spent writing didn´t help much). NaNoWriMo gave me the kick I needed, for which I shall be grateful forever :-)

  4. I’m going for the NaBloPoMo instead. Sure, I blog about worthless pointless personal stuff that interests no-one. But the folks at didn’t set up a free blogging service for nothing, did they?
    Feel free to drop by in November to check up on me, and give me a kicking.

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