Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Why did I start cyber-hanging around with a bunch of authors?  Maybe it had something to do with this Author Blog Challenge I did earlier this year. 

I feel like my life has turned into an exercise from the What Color is Your Parachute book - you know, the one where you attend the party where there are groups of people in all these corners.  One corner has mathematicians.  One has painters.  One has writers.  One has geeks.  One has people who love to cook.  And you can hang out with whichever group appeals to you.  You don't have to know anything about their craft.  You can just hang out. (and by knowing who you want to hang out with, you figure out Your Life's Work.  In my case, my Retirement Work, as I am about to enter into my 60's and I do plan to retire one day.)

And that's what I did, sort of, thinking of what I would do in my retirement years.  I hung out with writers and I wrote my blog and I was so proud of myself because I had blogged every day since, oh, late April of 2011.

But then, my hanging out people started to blog about something called NaNoWriMo (or NaNo, not to be confused with what Robin Williams used to say on a long-ago TV show).  This NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November. 

The Oh No part I'll get to later.

During the month of November these brave souls endeavor to write 50,000 words, which comes out to 1667 words a day.  The purpose, as I understand it, is to get off your sitting part and Write That Novel that has been knocking around most people's heads for years. 

Wow.  Novels get written, and some even get published.  Just thinking of all those people pounding away on their keyboards was dizzy-making.

I said to myself "But I don't HAVE a novel knocking around my head."  And, I suspect, that puts me in a small group, maybe 1/2 of 1% of the American population.  Because everyone is supposed to have a novel rattling around up there somewhere. What I have rattling around in my mental attic is a bunch of file cabinets with overflowing drawers and papers tumbling everywhere onto the floor of my mind.  No novels.

But then I went to the NaNo website and started to read it.  And I saw the part where you could meet fellow writers online. And there would be Actual Published Writers there to lend encouragement through pep talks.  For some reason I started to read through the list of writers.  And came across the name of....

Scott Westerfeld.  My heart skipped a beat.  Because Scott Westerfeld wrote one of my favorite series of all times, the Uglies series.

So....do I dare join NaNo with no novel, and just make it up as I go along? (I take it that such a person is called a "pantser". But even a pantser has to start with an idea.)

Or do I just say:  Oh No? And give up the opportunity forever to learn from Scott Westerfeld?

No, I'm not going to do it.  I don't have the needed fire in the belly. I'm not ready. Not yet. But it will stay in the back of my mind.  Why not try next year?


  1. There's something to that woman you were talking about a few weeks ago, Alana. If you need a story, look up her history and legend. Go with it. Add some fiction and try to put yourself in her shoes. You'll find that, as you research, the story will come to YOU. Her timeline is your outline, her story your meat and potatoes. NaNo is not about winning, it's about urging your fingers to write something. Even if you don't "win," you still win if you even got an idea and a few pages out of it. Just my rambling ;) WRITE ON!

    1. When you wrote your first comment, I didn't comment back but believe me, it kept nagging at me. "Do something....do something...." Jo, you are so wonderful at encouraging people. I will have to blog about what happened when I did a tiny bit of research....Thank you thank you thank you!

  2. Great post, Alana. Of course, the third option is to sign up and see what unfolds - or is that too near the 'pantser' participant?

    1. Thank you for your encouragement, Susan. I have to look into the rules more and also get a feel to what this may take. I don't want to make excuses but also don't want to stress myself out.

  3. My dear Alana, you can do anything, I am convinced! But it's a lot of words for one month. I can't imagine trying it at this point, but you have a lot more good stuff in your 'pocket' than I do... Maybe we should both promise each other that we will try next year!!! Then, we can watch and see what our friends do! Hugz

    1. I think what I need to do is to, first see what kind of "novel" the rules allow and 2nd, to see what 1667 words feels like. Because I have no clue. Jo says it will write itself and she is no doubt right, but the research may be very time consuming. But on the bright side, this was a local occurrence and I know pretty much for a fact that at least one "salt baby" is still alive and possibly living in this area.


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