GUEST BLOG: Z.A. MAXFIELD

Writing During NaNoWriMo

As we’ve all heard by now it’s National Novel Writing Month! Huzzah. I’m always thrilled when November comes around because it offers me the opportunity to think outside the box, to write for pleasure, and to write uninhibited by the presumption of publication. NaNoWriMo allows me to write without a contract — like some literary flying Wallenda — on an imaginary high wire, without a net.

And what good is that, you might ask, when most of us are slogging along with deadlines and edits and the need to write what we’ve said we’ll write, again and again?

Actually, I use NaNo as a time for pushing the boundaries of craft, for finding new and different voices, for creating new worlds and writing about them. I go where I’ve never gone before…

And then I REGRET IT.

Oh, sure, it’s great for me to stretch the old noodle as far as I can. There are things I’ve never written. So far I’ve not penned space operas or boy-raised-by-wolf books. I’ve never written a ménage. I’ve never written a book about a man alone at sea or a society infiltrated by aliens.

And at first, wow… the freedom. It seems like I could write ANYTHING. I could just take my little starship of the imagination and sail it wherever it will go, amuse yourself Mr. Sulu, all thrusters full.

And then I remember why I don’t write those things. Why I choose not to write those things.

I’m no damned good at it. 🙁

That’s right. Even when I have months and months you’re not likely to get a decent space opera out of me. Even when I have years, I won’t be writing my version of The Old Man And The Sea.

Everyone has a wheelhouse, and mine, this RomCom, falling in love, first love, young love, comedy of manners wheelhouse is mine. So yeah. I like stretching and dreaming, plotting and planning. But inevitably, I’ll peter out around this particular time of November, the 16th, and give in to the joy of writing what I like to write –what I know I can write — and I’ll give up on the Steampunk, the fantasy, the untrod roads of future worlds, and sigh with envy.

But maybe, just maybe, I’ve learned something that will carry me through another year, content to work on the books I like and with a greater appreciation for the things my esteemed colleagues write. Maybe I won’t be rewriting the same books. Maybe I’ll rethink things enough to make them new again.

Perhaps if I put my whole self in I can turn myself around.

After all, like the Hokey-Pokey, maybe that’s what NaNoWriMo is all about!

Comments

  1. I find NaNoWriMo fascinating. I wish you all the luck
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. Huh ive never heard of NanoWriMo. Sounds interesting. Thanks!
    -Amber
    goodblinknpark@yahoo.com

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