For my husband’s birthday a few months ago, his list included a power washer for the house (shouldn’t the house be asking for that for its birthday? After all, it turned 18 in July!), an iPad (you’re dreaming), an axe and sharpener (should I be nervous?), and, on the tippy-top of the list, a beach house in Michigan (now you’re downright hallucinating, dear husband!)
There were also two books on the list: one, a drawing book, and the second, a slim volume called No Plot, No Problem, How to Write a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty. Chris Baty? That name sounded so familiar to me. Old college boyfriend? Neighbor? Then I remembered.
Chris Baty is the daddy of National Writing Month, a.k.a. NaNoWriMo, the write-your-butt-off-in-November event open to anyone who is up for the challenge of penning 50,000 words in 30 days. I’d tried NaNoWriMo once, but the little rebel in me said, “I have to write 50,000 words in a month? How about zero?”
I asked my husband why he wanted the book. He said, “I thought I might write a novel, make it available on Kindle for a couple of books, and see what happens.” More power to you, baby, I thought. Maybe he’d get lucky and become the next Amanda Hocking, the author who has made millions selling her young adult paranormal books on Kindle.
So I bought my husband No Plot, No Problem How to Write a Novel in 30 Days, told him that a power washer doesn’t belong on a man’s birthday list any more than a vacuum cleaner belongs on a woman’s, and no way in hell was I was going to buy him an axe.
Then I gave him a beach house in Michigan — for a week. (Hey, you have to start somewhere!) While we were kicking back, my husband told me to check out Baty’s book. “But you can’t read Section Two until you start writing your book,” he warned. Right. He just gave the green light to my little rebel to go ahead and read the whole damn book.
Turns out there is a lot of good stuff in No Plot, No Problem. True, most writers already know much of this stuff. But for those of us who continue to shoot themselves in the foot and not complete a long writing project, this book is a great reminder of what you need to finish something, including having a deadline and writing without stopping to reread or revise until the whole thing is done. Plus, it’s easy reading and funny.
November being the official NaNoWriMo month, I thought this was a perfect time for this post. Though, for the life of me, I can’t imagine why Baty thought November was the perfect month for writing 50,000 words. Which is probably why there is now a Camp NaNoWriMo, during which participants write a book in either June, July, or August. And this is how I decided to try writing a novel again.
While I didn’t write 50,000 words in a month this summer, I did manage to write more in one Moleskine that I’ve written on any project before. Now I just have to get back to it. I’m thinking that it’s not going to happen this month. But maybe going back to Michigan this summer is just what I need to write the whole novel. I think I’m going to put a Michigan beach house on my birthday list. Even if my husband doesn’t write the novel that blows up the Kindle world, we can double our odds if we’re both kicking butt in the writing department!