I love National Novel Writing Month.
The beginning of November became something to both look forward to and to fear immensely for me ever since I discovered NaNoWriMo.
I had always dreamed of being a writer, and I filled notebooks after school as I sat in the grass on a hill waiting for my parents to get off work.
I won NaNoWriMo in 2007, and I had a lot of fun writing that piece. I gave up trying to write a novel in a month after that, however. So many things happened after that year that changed my life. The next summer I went to Japan for the first time, and after that I graduated high school, went back to Japan, came back home, went to college, and then transferred schools.
Every summer before I graduated, I took college classes to keep myself busy. I am the type of person who really hates being bored, and I am a nerd, so naturally I wanted to get my Biology credits out of the way when everyone else was tanning outside by the pool.
One summer, however, the summer after I applied to transfer to The University of Alabama, I was bored. I took summer classes, yes, and I suppose I had things to do. But we moved out to the country my senior year, so now my mom lives about 40+ minute drive from my high school. Most of my friends live a lot closer than that, so even in the summers when we were all together in our hometown, it was still hard to meet up with people.
When I sit in class, I usually write or doodle. Interestingly, the idea for my novel didn’t come from my boredom in class, as most of my other writing project ideas have. It came to me as my mom and I were walking in the woods at a park near our house. The calmness of the woods has always attracted me. I feel safe there.
I read once that people feel safer in environments where they grew up. For me, I grew up in the woods. Some people like the beach, others prefer the city, some the desert. But the woods are my home.
My mind started racing, and by the end of the week I had a massive project on my hands. I had character names and info, places, history researched, and a few thousand words. I came home after class and wrote every day before doing my homework.
I wrote so much that I gave myself a migraine one day. I fully intended to keep writing so that I could finish my novel and get it published. This idea is my favorite of anything I have ever written, and I feel as though it is my duty to write this book.
However, I stopped writing. I got so busy with making new friends all over again, moving to a new state, taking classes with new teachers, applications for study abroad, learning two languages at the same time, and figuring out my career plans, that I stopped writing my novel.
But I have never abandoned it. I have even gotten it out, dusted it off, bought a nice application for my macbook, got an ipad and a keyboard, wrote in Starbucks after class sometimes, and so on. But although I have all the characters mapped out, the entire plot fixed, and the book finished in my head, right down to the number of chapters, I still need to write the darn thing.
I haven’t given up on it, but there have been times when I have second-guessed myself and realized, as every writer does, that what I am putting on the page now may not be salvaged, so why bother?
But I read a NaNoWriMo pep talk that changed my attitude.
And I am proud to inform you all that I will begin my journey again. I am just going to jump in this canoe that is already being pulled toward the rapids and try to paddle upstream. Or maybe I will let the water take me downstream with a huge crash of chaos and then I can figure my way out from there.
I am going to write on my novel every day.
I need to get words on the page so that by the end of November I can have something worth editing. Editing is my favorite part. I love having something to work with so I can make it better. Creating isn’t really my strong point, but I am going to get over my fear or die trying.
Let me know if any of you have been roped into writing a novel this November! I would love to see NaNoWriMo be more of a communal thing than ever. For me, it was always a solitary event, and I think that’s why I never had much gaul to get back into it.
I will TRY to blog every day with my progress. I think that will make me feel guilty enough to keep writing. I waste too much time doing nothing when I get home from work, so I would rather spend it writing something meaningful.