Thursday, July 23, 2009

Want to write a book? How about next month?

Toward the end of my vacation last week, I felt my brain starting the slow spin indicating it was coming back to life. I found myself mulling over a couple of new writing projects. One of which was a novel (which is such a bizarre thing for me to think about that even now I'm wrestling with the urge to backspace right over that last sentence).

I've never wanted to write a novel. It just seems too daunting, vast and without boundaries to create an entire story without the pre-made decisions and check points non-fiction/memoir provides. And yet...I might try.

Anna Quindlen is one of my writing heroes because she moves so easily between fiction and non, books and articles...she has the dexterity that marks her as a master of her craft. (Ditto Barbara Kingsolver). I spent parts of last week reminding myself that at one point, they had to face a blank page in a new genre, too. They had to try...

So I'm going to try. And I wondered if maybe, some of you might like to join me?

Here's what I'm thinking: I have a blog called 40 Days of Faith. I'll need some faith for this, so I thought that might be a good place to post. (We can call it 40 Days of Fast Writing or something...) Starting August 1st, I'll post an inspirational/funny quote about the writing life, and share/brag/confess/admit how much writing--in pages and/or words--I did or didn't do that day. You can do the same in the comments, and we'll cheer each other on. Our goal will be to have a finished rough draft of something--memoir, novel, screenplay, whatever--that has a beginning, middle, and end. You know, something we can revise until Christmas :)

If you're curious, the book that inspired me to take the leap is Wendy Wax's The Accidental Bestseller, a novel about four friends who met at a writing conference and supported each other into life as published authors. I love that idea. So I thought maybe we'd try something similar, and see what happens.

If you want to join in, here's what you can do between now and August 1:

1. Click over to the 40 Days Blog and leave a comment to say "I'm in!"

2. Read Chris Baty's No Plot No Problem for some great inspiration (and if you've read my book, then when you see the name Paul Griffiths on page 55 you can say, "Hey--I practically know that guy!")

3. Check out Wendy's book and think about the one character who writes 20 pages a day, rain or shine, the one who treats her pages like brushing her teeth or eating dinner--something you wouldn't dream of skipping if you could possibly help it. Now granted, it makes her a little crazed and almost costs her all her relationships...but what might it mean for each of us to move writing from "optional" to "required" for six weeks? I'm excited to try.

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