Sunday, October 31, 2010

NaNoWriMo Yet Again!!!

November is "National Novel Writing Month" and NaNoWriMo provides the perfect structure with which to banish the inner critic and get a whole bunch of words on the page in a short period of time. 50,000 words in 30 days to be precise.

If you've already signed up, drafted your outline, completed your character sketches, and filled your cupboards with easy-to-prepare foodstuffs, way to go! You're light years ahead of me. If, on the other hand, you haven't given NaNoWriMo a thought until this very moment, never fear. The first year I did NaNoWriMo, in 2004, I didn't hear about it until November 6th and still managed to pound out 50,000 words by midnight on the 30th of November. It can be done!

To find out what the fuss is about, head over to NaNoWriMo.org. Visit "What is Nano?" for a full explanation of the contest. Then go to the search box and type willwrite4chocolate. That's me. Friend me and I'll friend you back. That's what NaNo is about. We're all in this together.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Try, try again.

“The road to Wisdom? Well, it's plain. And simple to express. Err and err, and err, again but less and less, and less." - Piet Hein

Last month, in preparation for our trip to Montréal, I polished my rusty high school and college French. I drove the streets of Columbus listening to French speakers inflect perfect sentences and attempted to repeat them. She said, "Bonjour." I said, "Bunnjerrr" with my loose, midwestern lips. While I especially hope to be understood when I want to know "Ou sont les toilettes?" I may never sound like a native speaker. I'm doing my best. I'm making the attempt.

Writing is like that too. The mind is vivid. The images are crisp and clear; the ideas coherent and logical. And then we take out the paper and the pen and it all goes to hell. My attempts may never capture the essence of my thoughts. With practice, however, I might come close. I must make the attempt.

The word "essay" comes from the French essai which means attempt or trial. That's what we do every time we put pen to page. We attempt to convey what's in our minds. We try to capture the character we've imagined. Whether it's the exquisite nutiness of a savory crepe or the way sound reverberates in La basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal, we can only attempt to get it right. What else is there to do but practice? In that way, we continue the attempt.