No, I am not writing a novel. Truth be told, all I’m doing is using the challenge (and word-count software) of NaNoWriMo as motivation to assemble a new manuscript. I’m not writing from scratch, at least not yet, but I am pulling from rough drafts, blog posts, and journal entries to see if I can put together something cohesive. What a cheater’s path to 50,000 words, right? Cutting and pasting to meet your word count. Really?
The thing is, I’ve got all this material on my hard drive, sorted into various nooks and crannies. Why not patch it all together and write what needs to be written and see what happens?
Writing is discovery, I tell my thesis students. Don’t worry about where the writing might go or whether the project is publishable. There are no rules about how to draft, whether in chapters or essays or one long stream-of-consciousness paragraph. Write to figure out what you think. Write to find the meaning in the events in your life. Write because writing feels good and because God has gifted you. Write because it’s fun. If it’s not fun any more, then stop. But if you talk yourself out of writing before you sit down to the keyboard, you’ll never know if what’s inside you might become a book that will connect you to others, that will contribute to culture, to conversation, to community.
Uh, somewhere in the middle of the last paragraph I stopped talking to my students and started talking to myself. So, yeah. I’m going to do this. And by blogging my intention, I’m making it public. I am taking a cheater’s path through NaNoWriMo by starting with a body of work—all nonfiction.
NaNoWriMo it is. I’m all in.
Words written: 29,481
Words remaining: 20,519
Words per day to finish on time: 684