For this blog post, we have decided to shake things up a bit and give you all a little glimpse into our individual NaNoWriMo experiences. We do this in hopes that you will not feel alone in your writing endeavors. Obviously, our experiences cannot encompass all writing experiences, but we hope that you will find a sliver of yourselves in our stories.
Twelve days in and I am ready to throw in the towel.
I have this vision in my head that loses translation on paper. The novel in my brain reflects the end of autumn, when the leaves have finished showing off and fallen to the ground, leaving the trees bare for winter. I can see hues of warm amber and gold tones filtering through fictional blinds in a living room I’ve decorated in my mind. Van Morrison plays softly through the empty home. My characters are broken individuals who cling to each other in order feel life. They are dependent and filled with shame. They are fictional, yes, but they are real to me. All of it is in a way.
Yet something is lost when I sit down to write. I blame sleep, laundry, and the impossibility of the entire French language for my lack of time and passion. I’m annoyed by my own ideas. They feel like indie, hipster nonsense. I want to believe my writing is important to me, to someone, or to no one at all. I delete and rewrite, never receiving the 5,000 word medal.
I fear I am missing the point completely. The point being to simply put words down. Who cares if they are good? Who cares if they make sense? Who cares if they create more questions than answers? Whatever comes from this month is purely for me and my personal growth. It is about developing a routine in my writing, sitting down at a computer and ripping ideas from my mind without fear or hesitation. I genuinely want to be comfortable filling a blank page.
Am I supposed to feel this way? Slightly elated by the idea of creating, but then horribly defeated with what I create? It feels so “starving artist” to be self-deprecating. Like I should be wearing a beret, smoking a cigarette, and drinking sustainably-sourced coffee when I complain on this level.
This is all probably part of the process. Or at least, part of my process. At this point, I hope my process manages to squeeze out 10k words by November 30th.
For the longest time, I’ve been one of those writers where if I’m not feeling it, I’m not writing it. I write better when I’m emotionally invested. So, when I hear about this thing called NaNoWriMo, I’m half excited and half terrified. I’m excited because it gives me an excuse to finish my novel. Who cares that I’m at 48 thousand something words already? My personal goal is to finish my novel. And I really want to finish what I’ve started with my characters. They both deserve some type of ending. Even if it’s not a happy one. Let’s be honest, I’m really looking forward to a sad ending, or at least one that leaves knots in my stomach. I’m tired of happily-ever-after endings; I’m not in high school anymore.
I’m terrified because I realize on the twelfth day of November I’ve only touched my novel between six and eight days. I’ll get about two hundred to five hundred words and say, “Okay, I’m good. I hit my mark for the day.” I realize my whole issue for the longest time is that I think way too much when I write just to get more content down. It’s the best thing in the world when you’re really diggin’ a scene and you start typing it out and you get lost and the story kinda takes the reigns. Writing is so much easier when my characters tell me what needs to happen. But when I’m just writing for content, I’m too hard on myself. I start at the beginning and write to the end – therefore my thoughts start to spin, and logic pushes creativity aside. I’m not that person who can sit back and just create scenes that I see happen down the road that I can fit in later like a puzzle piece.
During NaNoWriMo I’ve been writing when I’ve got the time – because let’s face it being a Creative Writing major, I’m working on three other writing assignments, studying for French, and reading my sixth eighteenth century novel this semester for a lit class – and punching out some words that make sense and I know later I won’t have to trash all of them. That’s probably the wrong way of doing NaNo but I hate making double the work for myself.
If this weren’t NaNoWriMo I wouldn’t be in my dorm room for one. I would be twenty minutes down the highway back at home in one of my three favorite spots. One highly possible situation would be sitting on my bed with the lights out, door closed, and music playing. In order to get away from reality and back to the reality in my novel. I use everything I can to help focus in on the characters’ lives and not my own. Usually if I’ve got something good, I’ll finish typing a chapter in three hours. I call it a success when the characters pull me in a different direction than I originally planned. But I don’t write every day and it’s not planned.
So NaNoWriMo is hard because I have to force myself to sit in my dorm room and write words that seem more block shaped than waves and colors and emotion. But I write on because my goal is to finish a novel I’ve been throwing around and changing for the past three years.