November is National Novel Writing Month. Every year a non-profit organization called NaNoWriMo rallies writers from all over the world to commit to writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. They provide community, encouragement, and accountability, but you have to put in the work. It’s an intense “seat of your pants” approach to novel writing that forces you to stop procrastinating and get writing – you only have 30 days. With the encouragement of a friend of mine who is also participating, I’ve decided to take on the challenge.
The decision does not come without trepidation. Over and over I’ve told myself I am not a novelist. I am not eloquent with words, with rich descriptions of accounts that leave readers with emotive mental pictures. I write screenplays – a medium that requires a less is more approach that rewards pithy dialogue and swift action. I dabble in short stories, but a novel? Good grief. These blog posts are typically 500-1000 words, and I can spend 2-3 days writing a single post. To write 50,000 words in 30 days, I’d have to write 1,667 words every day.
That said, I know myself. And I know that I thrive when I pursue challenges that feel a bit impossible. It’s how I became an Ironman. It’s why I run marathons. I’m good at accomplishing goals that require a substantial amount of focus and commitment over a set amount of time. I live for these types of challenges. So I’m going to give it a try.
I’ve decided I’m going to write a novelization of my screenplay The Resurrection of Dennis Munson. I think writing the story as a novel will be good for me; It will force me to think about the story differently and explore the characters at a deeper level. Maybe I’ll uncover some insights that will help the script get over the proverbial hump.
I don’t know what will happen. Even as I write this, I have my doubts. If I didn’t work a full-time job and could just write all day, maybe I'd have a chance. But I don't have that option. I guess that is part of the thrill. Sometimes we just have to say “yes,” leap and see what happens.
A WRITER KEEPING THE FAITH IN LOS ANGELES