How National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) Is Like a Diet

My NaNoWriMo project–one that was loosely plotted ten years ago in NYC after a writer’s conference when I was on a roll. In fact, I loosely plotted a whole series with the same characters. Life has intruded, and many other books have been written meanwhile, but it’s time to jump back into the fun of this black magic, black ops, dark sex kind of suspense novel.


November1st  begins National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and this November, November 2011, will be my first year to participate.

That may sound strange coming from someone who has been a writer–and a published one at that–for so many years, but I’ve never been able to do it before–holding down a stressful full-time job, plus home businesses, plus two children.

Well, this year, all that is different. This year, I have an empty nest, so I have the opportunity to see exactly how much time can I devote to writing one novel–whenever I’m not at work, that is–and how far can I get into completing a brand-new suspense novel that’s been tugging at my heart. I’ve decided to approach NaNoWriMo not as merely finishing one novel.  Hey, I might get lucky and finish one and then part of another or … life may happen as life often does,  and I won’t get finished at all, but maybe I’ll get a few good chapters written, which is further than I’ve been before on any of  these new projects.

No, I’ve decided to approach National Novel Writing Month the same way I’ve approached my diet in the past year.  Rather than use the word diet, I prefer the term way of eating. I threw myself into a new diet that worked exceedingly well, lost the weight I wanted to, and got back into shape.  I can call that diet a  success, but I didn’t stop there and go back to my old habits. No, instead I looked at it as a new way of life, of not eating certain foods that are bad for me, and of eating foods that will fuel me to better health and feeling good.

For National Novel Writing Month 2011, I plan to approach it the same way as eating –a way of eating and a way of writing.

Instead of finishing a book hastily thrown together in 30 days, what I intend to do is get back into the practice of writing multiple pages a day on one novel.  I go back to my old standby of dictation and editing while transcribing, eking out time wherever I can and not insisting on having a full day or even a full hour to do blessedly nothing but write.

It’s the habit I’m after this time, not the book,  because the habit will bring many more books as it has in the past…before life and my non-writing career intruded on the deep, dark plans I had for my characters


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