Saturday, November 20, 2010

Nano Guest: Kara Hartz

Nano-part2010Please welcome Kara Hartz, today’s featured Nanowrimo participant!

Kara is one of the newer Nano writers who hasn't always been so enamored of the task. This goes out to those of you who wonder why...

Welcome, Kara!
~~ ~~ ~~
I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2007, and every year I’m never really sure why I’m doing it. I tell myself that I’m a short story writer, not a novelist. In 2009, I didn’t even sign up as an official participant because I had failed so miserably the two prior years. I decided that instead of writing a single novel, I’d just try to write 50,000 words of. . .whatever instead: short stories, blogs, anything really. Even with that less strict standard set for myself, I only logged about 25,000 words for the month. Yet year after failing year, I kept coming back.

While I adore writing in general, novel writing intimidates me. I took up writing as a serious hobby again when I turned thirty and I focused on short stories. The shorter the better. Flash fiction was my favorite, around 300 to 500 words long. When I got critiques of my work, I got a lot of comments that told me they liked the story, but they wanted to know what happened next, that they wanted more. I’d look at my story and think, “What more is there?”

If there is one thing NaNoWriMo is good for, it’s for focusing on writing – MORE. That may be all it’s really about. It isn’t about writing better, that’s very clearly stated all over the NaNoWriMo website. No, it’s just about writing more. And I guess that’s really why I keep coming back. Every year so far, I’ve failed NaNo. Yet every time I signed up, I’ve written much more than I would have without it. In fact there were some hectic years when it’s possible that I wrote more in November than I did in the rest of the year all put together.

Even better, there are all these other people out there telling me it’s okay to spend time writing. It’s okay to take some precious time and spend it on something I love, even if the dishes sit unwashed overnight. NaNoWriMo has helped me learn the difference between taking the time follow a dream, and making the time.

I’m proud to say that so far this year, I’ve already written more than I have in any other of my NaNo attempts. I’m behind the suggested word count, but I’m closing the gap every night. This may be my year to cross the finish line. It’s been both much harder and much easier than I’d imagined. I won’t try to explain why. Those who have done it will understand, and those who haven’t will learn best by doing. I encourage everyone to give it a try. I’ve failed for three years, and am better for it. So there’s nothing to lose.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Find Kara on her Nanowrimo page, and
on her Blog!



Unknown said...

I admire your persistence. Even in the face of what you call "failure" you continue on a course not clearly defined. No, this isn't failure, it's an adventure, trying something that you'd really like to do well, and not giving up even if you do not quite reach the end.
Many, many famous authors wrote mountains of pages, and received many rejections. Often, it's finally getting the right thing together, a discovery of you and exactly what you want to write. Good luck! Celia

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Kara,
Good for you. Sounds like you are doing so well.In both writing and publishing, persistence always pays.

Good luck with your writing ventures


LK Hunsaker said...

Celia and Margaret, thanks for coming by!

Amanda Borenstadt said...

Write on!
Great post, Kara.
I love NaNo because it forces me to push forward even when I think I'm stuck. Sometimes I end up accidentally writing a super scene. Of course, other times I write a lot of crap. LOL

Kara Hartz said...

Yep, a lot of this draft is crap, but I expected that since I didn't do any planning. A large chunk of my beginning is flailing around discovering character, and it'll have to get cut on rewrites, but that's okay. It was useful at the time.

LK Hunsaker said...

Hi Amanda! Nice that even the garbage is useful, isn't it? ;-)

Kara, thanks again for being here!