JOPLIN, Mo. —
Holy crap. What the heck am I getting into?
Next month, I’ve promised to start a major writing project: A novel. I’m going to take part in National Novel Writing Month.
And I’m freaking out.
In a nutshell: National Novel Writing Month (which goes by the terrible nickname NaNoWriMo) is a group that offers support and encouragement to writers by challenging them to finish a rough draft in November. “Thirty days and nights of literary abandon,” they say. If you can write 50,000 words by the end of the month, you “win” and get a nifty certificate.
Despite the abundance of positive pick-me-ups and energetic encouragement infused across the website, it sounded like just the kick in the pants that I needed.
I know I can write fiction. I’ve done it before. I have several short stories sitting on my computer, and I plan to release them on Smashwords in the near future.
I also have a great mentor: Suzann Ledbetter, an author and Joplin graduate, who I met during my time in Nixa. She gave me my first “pigstickin’” Ñ because I didn’t run away screaming afterward, she said, I might be able to see this writing thing through.
And when I found out that Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus,” a favorite book of The Lovely Paula Hadsall and mine, was written during a previous year’s NaNoWriMo, my participation was sealed. So, I signed up and registered with the closest regional group. Unfortunately, it’s based in Springfield, so it’s not easy to make gatherings.
I felt good about it in September, when I let my idea bake around in my head. I thought I could do some research throughout October and get the wheat to grind in my novel millstone.
October is almost over, and I haven’t done very much research. I guess I figure that can come later.
But man, I’m starting to have doubts about whether I can do this. 50,000 words in a month. Thirty days. That equals about 1,667 words a day. And I have a 3,500-word head start in three chapters.
But I have no idea where this story is going. I have some characters thought up and some general notions about where my story is going, but I have no idea about the ending.
And there’s also books to read and video games to play. I just got “The Twelve” by Justin Cronin, and “Assassin’s Creed.” I’m scared because I know me, and I know that my motivation comes in sudden gushes, not steady streams. With distractions like those calling, who knows?
Surviving the tornado didn’t give me a firm sense of “seize the day.” It feels more like surviving every day Ñ I’m still dealing with cleanup aspects, emotional damage and other crap that the winds stirred up and that refuses to settle.
That means I don’t have the newfound sense of purpose and direction that others have found, I guess. I cherish my hobbies Ñ from practicing card sleights to mashing controller buttons Ñ because they help me FORGET about all this crap.
But I do have a dream, and thanks to the growing respectability of e-publishing, I have a way to see it through. All I have to do is do it. And there’s a lot of people who want to see this happen. TLP, friends, family, colleagues Ñ there’s a lot of people who have my back. I’ve been wanting to write a book since I was in my 20s. Now that I’m pushing 40, it’s about time to get started, for real.
So, I’ll do it. I’ll report back in a month to let you know if I win.
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Holy crap. What the heck am I getting into?
Carthage Humane Society featured in YouTube series with Josh Duhamel
One thousand dogs at one time cared for by the Carthage Humane Society now have "forever homes" after their adoption through shelters in and around Minneapolis.
Ryan Richardson: Pet urine becomes indoor problem during winter
My dog and I are sick of winter, and she has begun a rebellion because of it. She has fought me when we go outside because of the cold and snow.
Frankie Meyer: Best starting point for family research is your life, not web
New to family history research? Don't pay a fee to use genealogy websites. Although they may be helpful later in your research, they are not helpful when you begin.
To start your family history, you must start with yourself.
Danya Walker: Ripley biography reveals cartooning history
Robert Ripley is best known for "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" cartoon sketches, books and museums, but I was interested in learning more about the man behind the drawings.
Rich Brown: Christian authors connect generation gap with book-signing
Lindsey Bell, a new kid on the block of Christian writing, will be joined by her mentor and fellow author, LeAnn Campbell, for a book-signing event next week in Joplin.
Craig Tally: Discussion important when differences exist
To this day, I am powerless to walk with my wife down a sidewalk with her walking on the traffic side. Many years ago, I learned men just don't do that -- men stand between a lady and the danger of traffic.
Titanic's musicians honored in Branson museum's new gallery
Mary Kellogg spent much of the past decade researching the lives of those who sailed on RMS Titanic's maiden voyage.
Veteran, new artist share Legends stage with tributes to Tina Turner, Adele
J.C. Brando knew she liked the music of Adele, but never thought impersonating the English pop songstress would turn into a career.
Annual PhotoSpiva exhibit to open this weekend
When curators at Spiva Center for the Arts put together an exhibit, they have complete control over it, said Director Jo Mueller. They review the work, choose selections and make display decisions.
Artist to demonstrate polymer clay's ease of use during Wildcat Glades sessions
Cyndi Cogbill learned about polymer clay years ago when she used to work at Prairie State Park. The material let her make replicas of Indian trade beads for presentations about history at the park.
- More Lifestyles Headlines
- Carthage Humane Society featured in YouTube series with Josh Duhamel