November 1-30 is NaNoWriMo -- National Novel Writing Month -- and I'm starting to get excited. Yesterday I went and peeked at the site and signed myself in for 2010. I'll have 30 days to write a 50,000 word novel.
I participated for the first time in 2007 (a year in which I had a reduced workload) and achieved the 50,000 word goal. Although I had a novel in progress, about 60 pages long at that time, instead of completing it I started writing a new novel. The new one wasn't an entirely new idea. It built on four linked short stories that I had written a couple of years earlier. In NaNoWriMo 2008 and 2009, I continued working on the novel started in 2007, and by the end of November 2009, I more or less had a rough draft of about 120,000 words.
The title of the novel is Memories of a White Girl. In it, I play around with the notion of memoir, and with the role that family and friends play in shaping the adult self. I explore the seductive hold of small community home towns, and their dual nature: deeply familiar yet strangely odd; both exclusive and inclusive; embracing and rejecting; the place you run from and the place you run back to. I touch on the collective making of racism and how racist attitudes become woven, unseen, into everyday practices.
Over this past year, I have done a little rewriting and revision. Memories still needs a little more. But for NaNo this year, I'm embarking on a new project, and the thought of it has me all fired up.
It's almost November. That gives me permission to ignore many of my obligations and write. (Then I'll spend months afterward trying to make up for it!)