Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I thought when I first read about November being National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo2007) that I would like to join, in spirit, if not in actuality. I thought I'd commit to writing every day, maybe not writing a novel, but writing something.

Well, that lasted, like, maybe, one day. Because I was traveling and visiting and knitting and sitting around in coffee shops with MamaMia. And because I just don't have a novel knocking around inside my head.

My academic advisor in college (BA in English Literature) liked my writing and he told me years later that he had thought I would end up being a writer. I'm sorry to have disappointed him in that quarter. We've remained friends through the years and see each other occasionally. (The Professor also knew him growing up and was friends with him.)

I realize that what I like is writing letters, short notes, vignettes, not novels. I like the 'conversation' of emails, letters, thank you notes, blog entries. Immediate feedback.
I think I can't, or don't choose to, stay focused for that long. If I know I am writing for an audience, I don't get bored. Each day is different and I can write about what interests me today.
Short and to the point.

Those of you who are writers and can sustain the writing of the novel, how do you do it? Do you look at the big picture all the time in your mind? Or do you just focus on the details?


Mary said...


I have a novel gathering dust on the corner of my desk. I took me almost 2 years to write it. Though it is completely written, after having it rejected by several publishers, I have to go through the entire thing and rewrite parts of it. I may even change it to be a Christian fiction.

Blessings for a great Thursday.

Unknown said...

This is very interesting. I have a very good friend who is successful author, his books are huge weighty tomes and all his friends are amazed that he can produce so many words. He reads my blog and suggested to me that I should think about writing a book and he would be happy to make some suitable introductions for me, his wife assures me this is high praise indeed. I was thrilled and thought and thought and then realised that I do not have a book in me, like you, I love to write; I like to write letters, emails, my blog, I used to write little pieces for my company's in-house magazine back in the days of work, but it seems a whole book is not for me. Lovely to read of someone else admitting to the same thing. I think maybe it is OK to enjoy writing but not want to write a book.

roxie said...

I just report on the story as it rolls out of my head, then go back and polish it up when it's done. But I write fluff. Nothing earth shaking or life changing, just happy escapism.

Anonymous said...

Mmm, not a novel writer, but like you, I enjoy the short notes, occasional longer missive to a friend, blog entries... BTW, I love that green stationery!

Bethany said...

I think it's wonderful how so many women are writing in their blogs now, when that wasn't even an option several years ago! I love reading your writings and I don't think one needs to be "published" to have their writing appreciated and to change the world a bit-- you already have!!!

Anonymous said...

The writing classes I have taken have taught me that writing a novel and writing short stories are two totally different kinds of writing. Some people are suited to one more than the other. So, I encourage you to identify your strengths (and I think you already have) and develop those and don't worry about anything else. I love your writing- it reminds me of my favorite character-driven novels- finding the beauty and joy in everyday life. Keep it up!


Sara at Come Away With Me said...

You raise an interesting question, and one that I didn't stop to ask myself before I signed on for the first time ever to NaNoWriMo; in fact I never heard of it until a few weeks ago! But it sounded like it might be fun (?). Now that I've got some words down on paper, I'm finding it to be an interesting experience, and surprised at what is emerging from my imagination. I had no plan or plot to begin with, but I'm finding that one seems to be developing.

I just sit down at the computer and start writing, visualizing things in my head and describing them. It sorta just comes to me, and I love descriptions. When I'm not writing, I find I am sometimes thinking about the characters and what too make happen next. But I see what some writers mean when they say it is work that should be done daily.

I am not a writer, I've never written a novel (wrote a sort story once in 7th grade); maybe a poem or two. So, we shall see....I've no idea if what I am creating will be good enough for anyone else to want to read, but I am enjoying the experience.

Don't know if that answers your question... You have discovered the better part of writing - communication and sharing with others about life, interests, and what's on your heart! That's what really matters, and you are accomplishing it.

Anonymous said...

I have many unfinished stories from when I was a teenager. Either I got bored with it or I didn't know what to do with the story at a certain point. I haven't written in years and have been thinking about taking some of those things out and looking at them again.
I love writing letters which in themselves turn out to be novels, as well as emails. Blogging provides an outlet for me to write and sort out my thoughts.

roxie said...

I just thought of a NaNoWriMo challenge for you. Send a note a day. Even just a postcard. A real hand-write letter is a treat for almost everyone. Even if all you say is, "I thought of you and wanted to say hi." Give it a thirty day run, and by the end, you'll be into Christmas!

Barbara said...

Interesting to read how you tick as a writer.
I have always loved to write although I cannot say I am a writer. Howev er i can express myself more in the written word than the spoken. I used to write for a Christian magazine that was par tof a group I was involved in. Those writings always came out of inspiration. Word would just come say in the kitchen and I would rush to write them down and out the rest would come. I have written poems under inspiration yet cannot just sit down and write a poem.
My current writing of My Story I guess is my way of writing the book I have always wanted to write. The hardest thing is deciding to sit down and do it but on ce I start I don't want to stop.
Alan's favourite BD cake. Anything b ut chocolate cake.

Heather said...

pretty envelopes. I agree, I like the coversation of email.

kate said...

I think that's why I signed up for NaBloPoMo - writing a blog post each day for November just seemed easier than signing up for a novel. I'm more of a short story person - and like you, have a love of letter writing. That probably accounts for my incredible writing paper, card collection. Oh and my pens and inks.

A small slice of life appeals to me more than writing than a novel ... although I wonder if starting with a series of stories is one way to craft a novel.

But I'm finding writing a blog post every day tough ... I doubt I'll do it next year!

Anonymous said...

You have to sit down and write -- anything -- just write, write, write. It doesn't even have to be good. And it shouldn't come from your conscious brain. Pretty soon, a plot will emerge and your characters will start telling you what they want to do and where they want to go. I know it sounds really strange. I always thought all these writers who said that were just pulling our legs -- until it happened to me and it was exactly as they had always described it. It's a lot of work, but it's also a feeling of euphoria. If short notes are easier for you, you could start with friends exchanging letters or bloggers writing to each other. Or a series of thank you cards a single person sends or even cards a person receives. I've read books which were entirely made up of letters, diary entries, captain's logs, etc.