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