Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November Is for Writing.

November throws two challenges in my path--National Novel Writing Month and the Poetic Asides November Chapbook Challenge. What does that mean for me? Not only do I have the tension between reading time and writing time but between poetry and prose.

I picked up Chris Baty's little book No Plot, No Problem for some guidance in my participation in National Novel Writing Month. The challenge is not to write a great novel, but to write a novel--at least 50,000 words during the month. The website is set up for posting, with lots of encouragement along the way. What I lack locally is a fellow participant, but I know that in Cerillos, New Mexico, my cuz Sandy is working at way, slaving over a hot keyboard.

This is my second year in the November Chapbook Challenge, part of the site where I participate every Wednesday most of the year and daily in April and November. During this month, the goal is to write poems around a theme with a goal of sifting through and editing to produce a 10-20 page chapbook of related poems. I started writing with the group on Robert Lee Brewers PA site a year and a half ago, and the two things I've gained are motivation to write poetry and friends who write with me--located all over the world. I have an inner circle of writers who have met daily since this past April--virtually, at least--to write and to respond to one another. Life events make us less active sometimes, but we have become friends through words--not a bad way to begin.

For now, according to Baty, I have to see which activities are "foregoable." I'll leave my knitting in its basket, and perhaps I'll wait about scrapbooking until November. Will I quit reading for a month? Not a chance. I may have to cut back a bit to make time to write, but to go cold turkey? Impossible.
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7 comments:

Frank 'n' Sandy said...

Well, cuz, your cuz isn't doing too well. I still can't think of a thing to write about. I'm writing every day, but not a novel. I know I'm not being honest by writing nonfiction, but even if I get to 50,000 words, I won't submit for official counting. I keep thinking MAYBE I'll get a little inkling of what to write. Maybe my writing friends that I'll meet with on Thursday evening can help me. Anyway . . . I'll keep on writing. I'm not finding Baty's book very helpful because so far all I've read about is making time. Believe me, old retired ladies have time . . . this one just doesn't have ideas.

Still have lots of prayers going out your way. My heart is just broken for your friend Sandy and her family.

Nancy said...

Sandy,
Someone I heard speaking at the NC Lit Festival said his goal was to tamper with details enough that the people whose stories he steals won't recognize themselves when he finishes. Novel or not, keep count. You know, Jeannette Walls calls her new book a true life novel."

Nancy said...

Sandy,
Someone I heard speaking at the NC Lit Festival said his goal was to tamper with details enough that the people whose stories he steals won't recognize themselves when he finishes. Novel or not, keep count. You know, Jeannette Walls calls her new book a true life novel."

Frank 'n' Sandy said...

Now that's an idea! Maybe I could use my own stories as a start. Believe me, I'll keep on writing what I want to on NaNoWriMo. Getting back to it in a few minutes. I've had a very upsetting circumstance in my life today and will write about it while I'm still super angry at something done to a friend. I'll probably write it as a post on my blog, too. Perfect example of twenty-first century Christian persecution!! Yes, I read the title of Jeannette's new book. Is it out yet?

briarcat said...

Nancy, just read your grandma sally rose on the PA site, and wanted to tell you how I liked it (trying to comment there makes me a bit insane).
I think the same families must have moved on over into the Nashville basin: we have some names and customs in common.

Now I see you're doing NaNo, too. Hope you're having more success than I am. I have no plot, and problems. My sentences keep slipping into the iambic, and just the other day my narrator began to sound like Christopher Morley in Parnassas. sigh
best of luck on yours
barbara_y

Stephanie McCabe said...

nancy,

i've just found your site when i looked through last year's nceta information. i'm doing nanowrimo, too, but i have 17 students writing, too! i had to make a friend of mine join me in this novel stuff so i wouldn't be alone, but it's very tough!! good luck!

Frank 'n' Sandy said...

Isn't Stephanie's idea great . . . students writing with her? I think I'd do that if I were still in the classroom. I'm sorry to say that I still haven't written anything. Guess my creative brain has retired, too. Writing . . . just not fiction.