It was a simple question. Yet it sent me into a tailspin of fear.
Project 44 has been the most commented on post I have done so far, you can read it here Project 44: One Women’s Overcrowded Wish List and One Year to Do It All. It’s the wonderful plan I have to complete a series of projects in one year – from one birthday to the next. People are impressed, because it wasn’t like I aimed low … the first challenge is to write a novel in 30 days. 50,000 words in the month of November. It seemed so simple when I wrote it down. There’s stacks of people doing it at National Novel Writing Month so how hard can it be?
Then came the question, Heidi from Mish Mash Make politely enquired, “what’s your novel about?”. I stared at the screen, my mind went blank. What’s it about? I hadn’t thought that far ahead. My grand plan was to sit at the computer on the 1st of November, type 2,000 words and see what came out. But now that I think about it there is a risk with that, I could just end up generating shopping lists, absentee notes for the days the kids have missed at school and a to-do list for the entire family, which everyone will promptly ignore. They say write what you know and if I stuck to the mantra that’s what I would deliver, shopping, to-do lists and school notes.
Isn’t the point of the exercise to just DO IT! Are people really planning? A bit of research and well, yes, they are. Janice Hardy from The Other Side of the Story wrote a post about preparing for NaNoWriMo. The first step was decide if your 50,000 words was an entire novel or just part of a longer novel. God 50,000 mightn’t be enough! The second step was to work on your elevator pitch – essentially Heidi’s question to me “what’s your novel about”?
I dragged from the back resources of my mummy-fuddled mind a vague idea I once had about writing a dark, futuristic story on how we would cope if suddenly we found ourselves at war. As I wrote my reply to Heidi it began to sound very depressing. Maybe this isn’t the best idea. Maybe I should just go for a light and funny tale of a family living in chaos in a half-finished house (oh hang on that’s my life and I’m already blogging about it).
It’s OK, I’ve just done some deep breathing exercises, we are going to be OK, I’m going to go with the original plan, sit at the computer, type 2,000 words and see what comes out. Apparently Sara Gruen wrote Water For Elephants during National Novel Writing Month, I wondered if she pre-planned? Yeah she probably did.
Of course, as part of my research I managed to unearth myself a new challenge National Blog Posting Month. Also in November, it challenges you to write a post a day for your blog. Give me strength I signed up for that too. To my blogger friends you have until 5th of November I believe to join me in this insanity if you wish.