A Catholic perspective on the world and all the good things therein, especially books and food. Literature cum chocolate is the order of the day at The Crockery.

Location: A Collegetown, Undisclosed Location, United States

No longer a graduate student, Teresa is now a professional know-it-all.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

National Novel Writing Month, Again

Some of you may recall that November is National Write a Novel Month, or some such thing. (I may not get the abbreviation correct, but trust me, my heart is in the right place.) This year, I've decided to write a book. Some of you may also recall that I am already supposed to write a book, otherwise known as Teresa's Dissertation. And some of you may be aware that the month of November is supposed to be dedicated to sending out application letters and materials to various colleges and universities. You are all right. I am supposed to be writing my dissertation. I am supposed to be on the job market. And I intend to continue doing both those things. But I haven't written a novel in years, and I'd like to give it a shot again. You see, I have this tiny hope that maybe I've somehow magically been transformed into a better writer since my college days.

Unfortunately, if there is any change in my writing, it's that I've become a more painstaking writer. I write a sentence, look at it for a moment, and erase it. I write a paragraph, then change my mind and decide that I don't need that I don't need to "tell" that much information, but should hold something back to reveal by "showing." In short, I edit as I write.

Editing as you draft is a good thing, I believe. I like to think that this is how I was able to whip out seminar papers in just a handful of days back in the day, while still bringing in the A, or at least the A-. However, editing while you write does NOT work at all well when the goal is to produce 50,000 words in a mere 30 days. You do the math. (I don't want to. I prefer writing to adding.) That's a good chunk of writing you have to do every day if you want to complete the book. And, of course, since there are bound to be days when I simply can't work on the project, that means that I'll have to scramble to catch up on the weekends. But I mean to try. I mean to undo years of mental programing if that's necessary to convince myself that quantity is better than quality. I mean to write a book in a month, darn it! If other people can do it, I can too. If I can produce a 19 page paper in seven hours, surely I can produce 175 pages in 30 days. Right?

How will I find the time, you ask? In theory, the plan is to cut back on my message board time, my general goofing-off time, and yes, my blogging and blog-reading time. My hope is that this November, when I find myself sitting in front of my computer bored out of my mind but unwilling to work, I will turn to my brand new novel project. Perhaps, lo and behold, it will become a brilliant work which bring me instant fame and fortune.

At the back of my mind, a little voice whispers that this is unspeakably stupid. I recall that one of my committee members even TOLD us that the year you are on the job market is not the right time to decide to write a novel. But I tell myself that she was speaking of the summer before you go on the market, not the November during which you are actually applying. I have already wasted my summer. Now it's time to waste November. And I say unto the month: November, thou art wasted!


Blogger Kevin Jones said...

Maybe I should get started on my da Vinci code clone, which unmasks the Reformation as an Islamic plot to split Christendom and render it iconoclastic and teetotalitarian.


1:00 AM  
Anonymous Bob the Baker said...

But _The DaVinci Code_ was a FAKE! How can truth be a clone of falsehood?

1:26 PM  

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