Rose Solari Tackles NaNoWriMo
Author Rose Solari takes a relaxed approach to National Novel Writing Month
National Novel Writing Month (AKA NaNoWriMo) is now in full swing with many a bleary eyed creative furiously typing dawn to dusk or until carpal inevitably benches them (carpal tunnel release is our Tommy John’s). Their goal: 50,000 words by the end of the month AND a publishable manuscript, at least in spirit. With the myriad articles on NaNoWriMo burnout, on “slogging through” the challenge, and on just finishing a manuscript, Rose Solari has decided to use NaNoWriMo in her own way; that is, in the way she believes most conducive to seeing her ideas to fruit. Lucky for us, as she devises and crafts an ending to her new novel, she will be tracking her progress and offering tips and tricks on twitter.
Curious about the process, I asked Rose a few questions about her NaNoWriMo:
ASP: What made you decide to pursue NaNoWriMo? What is the context around your choosing to participate?
Rose Solari: A lot of my life these days is taken up with editing and promoting other writers at ASP, and I love it. But one of the hazards of that is letting my own work fall by the wayside. I got some very good work done on my novel-in-progress over the summer, but when I came home, I plunged into the fall publishing cycle for the press. This year, NaNoWriMo came along at just the right time for me.
The context of it is really my experience with Twitter. Lots of folks talk about the anger and hate on Twitter, but there is also a lot of love and support there, if you know where to look. There are so many excellent writers using hashtags like #writingtips, #writinglife, and #writingcommunity to share experiences, offer encouragement, and give sound advice to the less experienced. Me diving into NaNoWriMo was really the result of positive peer pressure from Twitter.
ASP: What could NaNoWriMo be for a writer who is struggling with their work or doesn't think they can fill out an entire manuscript in one month?
RS: I’m not a purist about these things. Yes, I’m working on the novel every day, and yes, I aim to write “The End” on November 30. But I’m not fussed about the fact that I have a head start from my summer writing, and if I miss a day, I’m not going to be too angry with myself about it. I think anyone can learn from the discipline of writing every day, whether or not they rack up 50,000 words in thirty days. And if what you get from it is, say, that you see the whole arc of your book clearly, that’s useful whether or not you’ve written the last sentence yet.
ASP: Do you think NaNoWriMo is for everyone?
RS: Gosh, that’s not for me to say. I am very aware that I operate from a position of relative privilege right now in my writing life — I’m self-employed, doing work I love, with a husband who is utterly supportive of my writing; neither of us have young dependents or serious health challenges or elders in need of our care. I’m fortunate enough be in control of my schedule to a large extent, which obviously makes it easier for me to take on NaNoWriMo than a lot of other people. That said, I’m always amazed by the fierce resourcefulness of writer pals who have far more familial obligations than I do and still get the work in every damn day.
ASP: How and where will you keep us updated on your NaNoWriMo journey?
Rose Solari is the author of three full-length collections of poetry, The Last Girl, Orpheus in the Park, and Difficult Weather(re-issued by ASP in 2014); the one-act play, Looking for Guenevere; and the novel, A Secret Woman. She has lectured and taught writing workshops at many institutions, including the University of Maryland, St. John’s College, Annapolis, The Jung Society of Washington, and the Centre for Creative Writing at Oxford University’s Kellogg College in Oxford, England. Her work as a journalist includes numerous free lance assignments, as well as positions as staff writer and editor for SportsFan Magazine and Common Boundary Magazine. Her awards include the Randall Jarrell Poetry Prize, The Columbia Book Award, and an EMMA for excellence in journalism. She is currently a member of the Advisory Panel for the Centre for Creative Writing at Oxford University’s Kellogg College.