In the vein of my mouth writing checks that my body can't cash, I have, again, signed up for the National Novel Writing Month challenge. For the uninitiated, the National Novel Writing Month extravaganza, or NaNoWriMo, is a month-long contest of wills to see if you can finish the month of November with a novel consisting of 50,000 words. Check it out at http://www.nanowrimo.org, if you are a glutton for punishment and cannot find anyone in your life to flagellate you.
I have decided again to bang my head against this particular wall, because a) I love to write, and b) I want to know the answer to the Al-Pacino-in-The-Devil's-Advocate question -- Can you summon your talent at will? I tried last year and failed miserably, and I'm like that kid in the playground who keeps confronting the bully on the off chance that this will be the day that he/she falls under the weight of my mighty fist. I have also committed myself to blogging EVERY DAY OF THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER to chart my progress. You heard it here, folks. And if I don't keep that commitment, I'll eat a bug!
No, not really. But to make sure that I finish as one of the winners of NaNoWriMo (i.e., to complete the 50,000 word dare), I have promised to do some pretty heinous things if I don't. In his book, No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days, Chris Baty, the director of NaNoWriMo, says that, to motivate myself, I should commit to doing the grossest, most unpleasant chores that I could that I could think of for friends and family. Quite a few friends of mine were only too happy to volunteer their basest tasks for me to complete. Here's a sampling (with friends like these, who needs enemas?):
- My friend Renee has two cats. If I fail at NaNoWriMo, I will be obligated to clean out her kitty litter box -- at the end of the week.
- My friend Marcia has a stable full of horses. If I fail at NaNoWriMo, I will be obligated to muck out the stalls of ALL of the horses.
- My friend Pam has a four-year-old son. She knows that little children give me hives. If I fail at NaNoWriMo, I will be obligated to watch her son on a Saturday after he's been fed a steady diet of cartoons and sugar.
Other "friends" are thinking up things for me to do. I'm like, "Bring it on!" This is what I need to write THREE x 50,000 this month. If you can think of something horrid that you'd want me to do if, by some off chance, I fail at NaNoWriMo (KEEP IT CLEAN AND INSIDE THE REALM OF POSSIBILITY, PLEASE!), send me an e-mail at email@example.com or comment here under this post. If, God forbid, I fail, I will post a picture of me fulfilling your uncomfortable-but-in-good-fun task up on my photo site on http://www.wendycoakley-thompson.com. However, as I'm going to succeed spectaularly, the point is "mute," as one of my ex-coworkers used to say.
So, come with me on this journey. We'll laugh. We'll cry (I'm sure). We'll have fun. And most importantly, I'll have a novel consisting of 50,000 words by midnight on November 30.
As my agent says, more to follow...