The Power of Coffee!

Upcoming Meeting Dates

Part instruction, brainstorming, motivation, & critique, our supportive group meets the second and fourth Saturday of the month and is user-friendly, inspirational, and empowering. Every woman deserves a room of her own.

"As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move...similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle."~Honore de Balzac

Monday, October 24, 2011


November is National Novel Writing Month and anyone needing to get a kick in the pants and that first rough draft of a novel, or 50,000 words, finished in 30 days might want to enter this popular marathon for writers. Founded by Chris Baty who claims you don't need plot or research, NaNoWriMo has risen in popularity each year. All you need is to turn the computer on and start writing. In his book No Plot? No Problem!, a guidebook and companion for "those looking to undertake the madcap National Novel Writing Month in November" as well as anyone else willing to hurl caution to the winds, he offers inspiring advice, lighthearted anecdotes, great tips, and recounts his own writer's journey.

Before I recommended this writing marathon to our SMCC group or students of all ages in my writing classes, I figured I'd give it a try and and climb into the writer's worst crucible with no plot, no characters, no map to structure my story, only a blank screen.

I started a month early, fortunately a month with 31 days, just in case I needed an extra 24 hours.

As of Day 24, I'm happy to report I have accumulated 42,668 words and am still going strong. My goal of 50,000 by Day 30 is in sight. There's light at the end of the tunnel and it just might not be that proverbial train. I'll keep you posted.

Of course, I have no clue how this adventure will end, how the story will be resolved, how I'll tie up all the loose ends and answer all the questions since the draft is filled with loony characters who are running away with my story and an unreliable POV narrator I can't trust and is set back in time before high tech changed everything including making a phone call.

But that's part of the fun.

Joyce thinks so, too. She's tried NaNowriMo and is considering doing it again!

The whole idea is to get that first rough draft in the can, the "shitty" first draft as Anne Lamott, Ernest Hemingway, and I, myself, have called it, and move on to the real art of writing, the revision process where we sculpt something of value.

So, whole-heartedly, I endorse Baty's pep talks in No Plot? No Problem! as well as NaNoWriMo. Go ahead and throw yourself into this month of literary abandon. Just be sure to stock up on fast snacks, microwave dinners, and be prepared not to vacuum, socialize, or respond to every text and email. Take your laptop with you everywhere – to work, the coffee shop, restaurant, on the train, plane, or in your car. Abandon your significant other and sleep with your laptop, so when you awaken at three a.m. you can get down what those characters are saying in your head in the middle of the night.

If you want to dig up some rough, raw material and get started on your next project and feel like you're making some real progress, NaNoWriMo will help you do the heavy lifting.

No comments: