Today is November first and the beginning of Nanowrimo –when writers worldwide try to pen a 50,000 novel before the end of the month.
I’m not participating in Nanowrimo this year. The novel I’m working on is fermenting in a box. Instead, I’m working on a book of non-fiction about learning to hunt, and this is the month when I take my newly minted hunting license into the woods. Nevertheless, I applaud everyone who signs up, sits down and writes.
Edit that: I applaud everyone who sits down and writes. Regardless of whether or not you sign up for Nanowrimo, here’s encouragement from famous authors for writers of all genres, embarked in projects of all kinds, wherever you are.
Somerset Maugham famously said, There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.
I would go further and say this is true for any book. Writing is an act of discovery, and each story has its own interior logic that dictates how it’s best told. A writer pays attention to what the story needs and makes up the rules as she writes.
That said, there are some rules for writing that apply whatever you write:
According to Dorothy Parker, Writing is the art of applying the ass to the seat. November’s as good a time to do this as any. A cushion is nice, but not necessary, especially if you’re using a stand-up desk.
Writing is easy: just open a vein and bleed, is most often attributed to sportswriter Red Smith. Remember: it’s a metaphor. It’s also true.
And perhaps the best advice for those of you embarking on NaNoWriMo today comes from Anne Lamott. Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.
Good words to you – and good luck.
Deborah Lee Luskin blogs every Wednesday at http://www.deborahleeluskin.com. Currently, she’s posting Lessons from the Long Trail, a 275-mile hike along the spine of the Green Mountains from Massachusetts to Canada. After that, writing seems restful.