You may have noticed (or not), that I have not posted for nearly a month. This is because at the last moment on Halloween Night, I decided to participate in the 2012 NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month, and I and a quarter of a million other people committed to writing 50,000 words of an original novel in thirty days. I had a spurt of writing over the last five days, and I was able to get mine done in twenty-five days (50,881 words to be exact). I was able to finish early mostly because I had this long holiday break; also I had become sick and tired of getting up at 4:30 in the morning to write before work, writing during my lunch hour at work, and writing for a couple of hours after work. Before I started, I debated on whether I was crazy to try this at such a busy time of year. I have determined that yes, I was crazy. As you might expect, writing this amount of words in that short a period did produce a novel of amazing crapitude.
And in case you are wondering, my story is about a couple of kids with extraordinary paranormal abilities who solve a mystery. (Did I say “crapitude?” I meant it.)
But what I want to focus on today is the importance of writing on a regular basis and to engage in regular activities that will fuel the imagination.
When I decided to engage in this project at literally the last minute on October 31, I was able to do so because I had an idea for a story. That idea had taken hold four days earlier. First, I was sitting in a bagel shop in the South Bay doing a bit of writing. I had taken a writing prompt pulled from one of the half dozen “jump-start your creativity” books I have. (I think many of you have these same books). The prompt was “pick five words at random and use them in a 20 minute timed writing.” I used an online random word generator and was given these words: tune-up, tetra, verdant, wizard, and vivid. Twenty minutes later I had a few paragraphs.
Second, the reason I was in the bagel shop in the first place was that I was on my way to my Artist’s Date and I stopped for breakfast. I was on my way to a museum to hear a lecture on Victorian mourning practices (see the previous post).
That timed writing in the bagel shop plus the lecture and tour of the Victorian mansion provided the idea for a whole novel. For the next several days, that idea kept rolling around in my mind until I received an e-mail from the NaNoWriMo folks and I decided to let the idea loose to the universe.
The next time I don’t feel like writing in my journal or taking myself out to do something interesting and unusual, I will remind myself that if I want to be a writer, I need to engage in this discipline. Regularly letting ourselves go in the playgrounds of our writing journals and the seemingly self-indulgence of treating ourselves to an artist’s date are disciplines vital to our writing spirits.
So, I encourage you to delve into your stash of writing prompts and get writing. I urge you to schedule something fun to do this weekend. If you are already doing that, then go trolling through your notebooks and through your photographs for story ideas. I guarantee you that there is at least one screaming to be let loose.
Pelican1 (c) 2012