It’s November which means my thoughts are pretty much centered on books – reading them and writing them.
As you know, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo and I just realized I’ve been explaining it wrong this whole time. Whenever I’d explain what the acronym means, I’ve been saying National Novel Writers’ Month but it’s really National Novel Writing Month. I suppose, in my mind, it’s not about the act (writing), the focus is always really on the person (writer). The act of writing is simple. Take a writing tool – a pen, pencil, your finger dipped in ink, your finger dipped in blood (sometimes, that’s exactly what the process feels like) – and shape out letters on a page, a card, a wall, a slab of board, a book, a journal. Kick it up a notch and use a fancy electronic device to tap, tap, tap a few keys and create a word. Then a hundred more. That’s the act of writing.
The result could be gibberish or it could be a soliloquy that inspires rivers of tears. That’s writing.
But when you talk about the writer, you’re focusing on the transformation that happens when a person sits before a blank page and pours their emotion onto it, lays their thoughts bare for all the world to see, and have opinions about, and give commentary. That’s a scary process, you know. Being a writer, and publishing one’s writings, requires more bravado than many realize.
Because who among us hasn’t read a shocking piece of fiction and asked, What kind of person does it take to imagine something so horrific? I know I’m not the only one who imagines that M. Night Shyamalan is a dark and twisted person. Or which of us hasn’t read a sappy love poem and imagined the writer as a sensitive soul, the hopeless romantic, the perfect man, or so we think.
That’s the power a good writer can wield and that’s why for me, this month always was and always will be National Novel Writer’s Month. Focus on the person. Yeah. Yeah. I know. Where you’re concerned, I’m just saying it wrong. But this is my little corner of the world and around here, I’m in control.
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