Friday, November 1, 2013

Happy National Novel Writing Month!

For several hundred thousand writers, the great challenge of the year has just launched: for the next 30 days, they will be scrambling to maintain a semi-functional life while also producing 1,667 words per day, to end with a 50,000 word story on December 1st.

I wish them luck.

While I can't deny the glories of a creative adrenaline surge, I have never managed to get more than 35,000 words in November, and have several times had to step back and let the challenge go before I had a nervous breakdown (or at least it certainly felt that way at the time). It doesn't help that November is the month of Thanksgiving, Final Exams, and in one particularily memorable year my grandmother's passing away at 102. This only makes my admiration stronger for anyone who has managed to complete NaNoWriMo.

In their honor, and in honor of all the brave souls about to begin their tribulation--and with all due respect to Tom Lehrer--I have composed a ballad. It accurately, if with some exaggeration, captures my feelings about NaNoWriMo madness...and perhaps writing in general some days. As Thomas Mann put it, "A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people."

To be sung to something like the tune of National Brotherhood Week:
Oh writers like to clean stuff
And writers like to make stuff
To do anything but to write stuff
Is our old established rule
 
But during National Novel Writing Month, National Novel Writing Month
Write sixteen hundred words before you do any other stuff
It’s time to eulogize
The plot that you despise,
As long as you just get the d*mn thing down.
 
Oh, writers sure like to cook things
And to talk about movies that we’ve seen
And good god do writers love blog-ging,
But write novels? We’d rather die.

But during National Novel Writing Month, National Novel Writing Month
Without six thousand words by this weekend you’re sunk
Step up and write a chapter
Whose completion you’ve been after
You know that you can do it if you try!
 
Oh, how I hate writing adverbs
And I keep choosing weak nouns and bad verbs
My participles are less than superb
And my character’s a Mary Sue

But during National Novel Writing Month, National Novel Writing Month
It’s National Ignore-this-pencil-that-I’m-biting Month.
Keep your butt in the chair
And get some words done there
It’s only for a month, so have no fear.
Be grateful that it doesn’t last all year!