After I dithered about it here, I decided to pull the trigger. I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month. It started this past Saturday on November 1. I’m already 4,938 words in. Only 45,062 to go! Gulp.
Because I can’t write a post without caveat-ing, here is my caveat. I’m not giving myself an out not to finish, but I did pick some easier subject matter. Instead of trying for an original work of fiction, I’m going for a memoir essay-style thing. Why, you ask?
First, I didn’t have a great idea for a piece of fiction. My only hatchlings of ideas involve things like zombies and post-apocalyptic stuff. Which surprised me. That is definitely not where I thought things would go. I decided not to delve into these ideas (right now anyway) because I didn’t want to give myself nightmares for the month, and I worried I’d be out of plot in three days. With my own life, I should (in theory!) have enough content for 50,000 words. Also, it is easier to write non-linearly if I want to.
Second, I want to remember. I’m not sure this book will be shared. I may try to do something with an essay or two out of it. This is more for me. My memory is not great. On the whole, I’m grateful that I got to grow up before the world of social media, but digital cameras sure help keep things from falling through the cracks. Writing makes me think about things I thought I had forgotten. It helps me remember.
Third, I am reading a lot of memoirs right now so this seemed logical. After being unimpressed with my current kindle selections, I reread Tina Fey’s Bossypants. I read Lena Dunham’s Not that Kind of Girl. I just finished Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. (Order of personal enjoyment: Fey, Poehler, Dunham.) [Update: I haven’t re-read recently, but I shouldn’t leave out Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) and Judy Greer’s I Don’t Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star. So more like Fey, Kaling, Greer, Poehler, Dunham.) But the one that really tipped it for me is Jenny Lawson’s Let’s Pretend this Never Happened. As James commented, I’ve never read a book like this before. There are rambling parentheticals, footnotes, and non sequiturs. This may sound terrible, but it works. This is the most I have actually laughed out loud at a book in recent memory. My life does not have magical squirrels or other West Texas charms, but reading this book made me feel freer about how writing can be. In the one recent-ish writing course I took, I was told to avoid parentheticals. Now I say tough. I adore parentheticals. This is my book and I can write it however I want. Thanks, Jenny Lawson.
Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo?