A lot of people who have known me since high school have asked lately about my writing. I used to read constantly. And so it seemed natural for me to write stories of my own. I wanted to be a novelist when I grew up and I majored in Creative Writing in college. And then I found photography and fell in love all over again.
And let's face it. Photography is a much better career than writing. You might not make a fortune in photography, but you don't make ANYTHING as a writer. People assume that authors make a ton of money (and the famous ones do), but most writers get pennies on the dollar from their books. Like a couple grand for an entire novel, that probably took them three years to write, edit, and have published. Or maybe longer.
The other reason that writing wouldn't be the best career for me is motivation. Writing is entirely self-motivated. You have to make yourself write. You have to make yourself edit. You have to find a publisher that is willing to publish your book. And THEN you start to get deadlines. I'm a deadlines girl, so having to completely motivate myself just wouldn't work.
So up until now my answer to their question "What have you been writing lately?" has been "Does blogging count?"
But this year I started something up again that I loved doing in high school. NaNoWriMo.
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is an amazing online event that takes place every year in November. The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel between November 1 and November 30. And over the past 15 years, an incredible online community has formed. For one month it doesn't matter if you've never written fiction before or if you have no idea what you're doing. The point is not to finish the month with a beautifully polished work (trust me.... it's almost impossible to do that!) The point is to let go and just write for the pure enjoyment of it.
And this year my novel is certainly not a work of art. It's not even historically accurate. And that's ok. Because I know (based on past experience) that editing an entire novel (almost 100 pages of 12 point text!) is never going to happen. I'm not sure I'll ever read it all the way through! So this month I'm just letting go of my OCD and my constant need to edit (or trying to!) and writing just for the fun of creating something.
I'm sure some of you are thinking that there's no way novel writing can be fun. And I challenge you to give it a try. If you need help getting started, there's an entire board on the forums where you can adopt plots, characters, and even opening lines. There are 19 wonderful days left in November. I think you should give it a try!