Nanowrimo Interview ’09

Time to start it out for 2010 – the bloggery.  This is from an interview I gave for ’09.  It never appeared because the writer decided to use females for a women or mom type of magazine point of view for the article.  But here it is now…

This is unedited/unaltered since I first sent it off.  Click the jump to read it all…

 

1. What is your name, approx. age, and city you live in?

Matt Mesnard, 33, Mesa

 

2. What is your family like (spouse, kids, etc.)?

Single, never married

 

3. What is your day job?

Various freelance work

 

4. Have you always wanted to be a writer? Explain.

In a way I suppose I was always a writer in some form. The most noticeable starting point was making silly camcorder movies with friends. To an extent, I was “writing since” I was setting up the shots and telling the people what to say or how to react. They were an abomination of production value, but Youtube celebrities have far less in the way of plot and budget most times.

 

5. How many times have you done NaNo?

This year will be my fifth attempt. I won three times, completed the novel once, and failed spectacularly in 2007 after the first day of writing; though I think I did get at least 2,000 words before claiming defeat.

 

6. Where did you find out about it?

I heard interviews with Chris Baty (founder of NaNoWriMo) a couple years in a row on NPR, but it took me until 2005 to actually make a stab at competing.

 

7. What do you think about it? Do you enjoy it or is it harder than you imagined?

Maybe in a way NaNo is like that old Peace Corps. tagline: “The toughest job you’ll ever love.” Sure it’s gritty and primitive – your novel that is – but it is something people can admire you going through the wringer for. Especially when you have a win.

 

8. How do you balance writing an entire book with the rigors of family life?

Advice for balancing is maybe a rather obvious answer…push aside some things and then allot the time for the novel. Stop watching those tv shows you’re on the fence about. Record the shows you like, and have marathons of them later on when you are done – and skip commercials in the process. Lay off the viral and silly timewaster sites to focus fuller of pounding out that first draft. Kittycats doing silly things will still be on the internet in December, I promise. Avoid “social network” sites like the plague. Besides, NaNoWriMo.org is a social network all its own in November: plus a community with an overall positive vibe. The NaNo site motivates since each person has a word count bar in their profile and forum posts.

 

9. Is this book something you hope will be published or are you just doing it for yourself?

I consider myself an optimistic realist. It means I hope for the best, but usually have a good idea where things will go. I have found some great sites to self-publish thanks to NaNo sponsors, and I even got a couple great leads from people in my region who attend the write-ins. If someone wants to take this novel above the rank of self-publishing, who am I to argue?

 

10. What have you gained so far during your NaNo experience?

I made a lot of friends with NaNoWriMo participation, especially from the fantastic East Valley; which is my home region. There are many others online I have spoken with too. The sense of knowing I am not alone in this marathon of writing is a nice motivating factor. Just knowing you can pull off a hefty chunk of writing in a compressed amount of time is a large confidence booster, and often the more one writes leads to a better handle on storytelling as well.

 

11. If you have done NaNo in the past, what is the best thing about it and the worst thing about it?

The best thing about Nano are the friends you can make, and the overall accomplishment of meeting that goal to achieve your winner status and rewards. The worst part is enduring the pressures of the holidays barring down, such as Thanksgiving and Black Friday paving the way for December shopping. It means the novel really needs to get finished soon or else it may never get completed after the holidays. I still have two NaNo novels sitting in “the boneyard” waiting to be finished.

 

12. How does it feel once you’ve actually written a novel?

It really does go back to the imagery of a marathon: doing something most people would not dare attempt and then succeeding makes it worthwhile. Also… when crossing the finish line, you have the admiration of friends and family who saw you push through the pain. On the flip side, the mantra of NaNoWriMo is “quantity over quality” so the author is left with a behemoth of an editing job which really can take the wind of victory out of anyone’s sails. It could be the same as finishing an actual marathon at a personal best only to have a family member ask, “So when are you going to try your next marathon?”

 

13. Is you novel something you’ve had in your mind for a long time, or did you start with a blank slate?

This year I chose a story which has been rattling around my head as a primitive version for over a year now. Last year I came up with an idea just a couple weeks before the November first start date; as an amalgam culled from a few articles from various unnamed blogs. There does not seem to be any grey area: either it’s a spur of the moment idea for me or something that has been percolating a long time.

 

14. Are you happy with your novel so far?

The chapters are slow gong, but I am hitting just about where I want my word count to be. I am excited about where the story is still heading however. Since it is being told in a very challenging style, the quantity alone is what I am pleased with rather than if i will have enough overdrive in week four to actually complete the whole novel by the end of NaNo.

 

15. What is the NaNo support like?

Bar none, NaNoWrimo can be one of the best experiences a writer can have. Chris Baty’s “No Plot, No Problem” book is one of the most encouraging texts on novel writing and is written with a very simple and positive tone – which spills over into the online community, the forums, and the Municipal Liaisons as well. Our region is fairly new, but has already grown by leaps and bounds thanks to the effort our MLs (“nekowriternyan” and “Katantion”) have put forth: not only hosting a multitude of write-ins and events, but also doing additional things like organizing cross-region word wars. This year “E-Val” members even got a free supplementary booklet to help brave this year’s NaNoWriMo with a word count progress tracker, character profile sheets, chapter breakdown help, and a “Rescue Your Plot” section which lists 100 prompts or dares to inject new life into a novel which may have hit a creative impasse.

 

16. Please tell me anything else you’d like to about your NaNo experience.

NaNoWriMo: When you absolutely, positively have to write fifty thousand words in November? Accept no substitutions.

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