I Need to Write Like Me.

12 Nov

It’s not that I think I can’t do it; I know I could do it, if I wanted to.  It’s not that I’m afraid — I’m not (anymore).  It’s not that I’m a flake or a quitter; rather, I’m a little too determined for my own good.  It’s not that I think NaNo is a waste of time.  Really.

I’ve just decided it’s not the best use of my time.  Not this year, anyway.

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know I was on the fence a couple of times about starting NaNo in the first place.  First, I questioned whether NaNo was worth sacrificing my November, sacrificing thirty days of work on my beloved work-in-progress.  Then, I had doubts and fears concerning the subject matter itself.  After that, I took the plunge and jumped into the ice-cold ocean of NaNo madness.

I’m not going to say “I lasted” seven days, because that makes it sound like I ran out of gas, which is not true.  After seven days of intense work, seven days of listening to intuition and going with whatever came, seven days of sacrifice to get the story on the page, I paused.

Words were flowing, characters emerging from closets I didn’t know existed.  So, what happened?

In short, it felt like a book I’d snatch up in a heartbeat from a bookshelf, sink in to read it, be amazed by it, and then feel utterly depressed — though impressed — by what the writer wrote.  What’s the problem with that, you ask?  Isn’t that a good thing?  Well, yes.  But it started to feel like I was writing someone else’s book, trying to be some other author with some look-at-me-mom-I-can-be-a-Deep-and-Important-Thinker-too! subject matter.

Truth is, I care about a wide, wide range of subjects, across the full shallow-to-deep spectrum — I can have equally competent conversations about Tim Gunn, the book of Revelation, Kate Gosselin’s porcupine hair and why it needs to go, why the Starbucks in downtown Shanghai is my favorite, why I buy organic food as much as possible.  I’m an eclectic mix of thoughts and opinions, and I really don’t need to write like someone else.  I need to write like me.

What is me, then?

I’m inspired by the possibility that kids everywhere could learn to read, learn to love to read, on a book that came from my mind.  My huge work-in-progress, my labor of love, fits this goal better than an adult-genre, medical/courtroom/super-serious/tumultuous-torment-laden book.  I’m excited about sending my little heroes on a tough and scary journey, about watching them fail and persevere and eventually (hopefully) succeed.  I’m excited about sticking with a project I’ve spent months of solid devotion on, excited about seeing it through even though it’s kind of larger-than-life right now.  I’m excited about writing this book, the one that oozes with my heart and my mind.  

So that’s what I’m doing.

In the spirit of November, however, I’m not ditching the challenge aspect of things.  Rather, I’m focusing all that effort into finishing my second draft.  My new goal is to average 1,500 words/day until the end of the month.  This number will put me close to, if not at, the end of the novel.  Between a trip to my parents’ house this weekend and then Thanksgiving in Kansas City, it’s still a lofty goal.  I’ve met the 1,500 words each day this week, though, so I’m off to a good start.

Thanks for all your support, you guys — and, to all my NaNo buddies, I’m still planning to support you like crazy!  You guys are rocking the charts, and I’m so proud of you.

45,431 down | 27,569 to go

16 Responses to “I Need to Write Like Me.”

  1. Linda Thursday / 12 November 09 at 6:14 pm #

    I’m cheering you on in your goal to finish the novel you BELIEVE in! Why else would you write?

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 13 November 09 at 1:49 pm #

      Thanks, Linda! That’s exactly what I keep telling myself. 🙂

  2. jendoll Thursday / 12 November 09 at 8:31 pm #

    Hello dear! Long time, no talk— I hope all is well!! what the heck is NANO? Sounds like your second draft is coming along smoothly- I’m sure it will turn out just wonderful.

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 13 November 09 at 1:51 pm #

      Well, hello there! It’s been too long, and I’ve been wondering how you are. NaNo is an abbreviation of an abbreviation for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) – it’s where people make their most valiant efforts to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Things are rolling right along here, and it is indeed going well. Hope all is well with you, too! 🙂

  3. J.C Thursday / 12 November 09 at 10:23 pm #

    Sounds like the absolute best reason not to write a new novel for NaNoWriMo 🙂 Good luck with the second draft, sounds like great goals you’re setting for yourself!

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 13 November 09 at 1:53 pm #

      Haha, thanks J.C. I think so, too. The new goal is difficult, yet still attainable, so I think that’s about right. Probably won’t get too much done this weekend since we’ll be going out of town, so next week will have to be a diligent, focused one! Just saw you have a new post, and I’m looking forward to hearing about your progress, too!!

  4. Mercedes Thursday / 12 November 09 at 11:07 pm #

    Following your intuition is always the best thing to do. It will never steer you wrong. Good for you! 😀

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 13 November 09 at 1:54 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by to comment! I like your blog, too, and intend to get back over there soon to read more. 🙂

  5. jenniferneri Friday / 13 November 09 at 8:07 am #

    Good for you! I think that if you had not started you would not have realized where you really wanted to be right now. Nano is really just about writing, right? Sounds like you are right on track.
    Thanksgiving this weekend in US?? Enjoy your family.

    • owlandsparrow Friday / 13 November 09 at 1:58 pm #

      You’re so right – for a while, I kinda beat myself up, saying, “Well, then, why did you even start NaNo in the midst of a project?” Then I thought about it, and came to the same conclusion as the comment you made – I had to take a step away to realize where I really want to be right now. My week-long foray into NaNo-land taught me a lot, and it’s made me all the more excited to work on my original project!

      Thanksgiving in the US isn’t until Nov. 26. This weekend is just a for-fun visit, since we haven’t seen my parents in a while. 🙂

  6. ohsosqueamish Friday / 13 November 09 at 6:07 pm #

    The best thing to do when you’re not writing a NaNoNovel is… write another novel! 😀

  7. Laura Best Sunday / 15 November 09 at 2:12 pm #

    I have several projects on the way and I always know when I’m ready to work exclusively on just one. The important thing is to write the story that needs to be written now. When the story demands to be worked on it is the one you should concentrate on..Best of luck!!

    • owlandsparrow Monday / 16 November 09 at 9:06 am #

      Thanks, Laura! That’s good advice. I guess it just took a bit of working on something else for me to realize that my current project is, in fact, the one that’s demanding I write it right now!! 🙂

      Are you working on a new project right now, or basking in the just-published feeling for a little while? (Or, both?)

      • Laura Best Monday / 16 November 09 at 3:42 pm #

        A little of both, actually. I’ll be honest it’s really difficult to settle down into a routine again. Difficult, but not impossible. I have another project that I’ve been picking away at. It’s not demanding my attention in a strong way yet but it’s nudging me every so often. I expect that one day it will get it’s own way.


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