Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Novel Idea

As you may have guessed by now, I do like to jot things down.  My thoughts and ideas, things I have seen (Yes, I really can see!) and experienced.  Some are important, but for the most part, they're not.  Just my observations with a bit of opinion mixed in for flavor.

I have always hated creative writing.  In high school, I did everything I could to get out of CW assignments.  I just didn't enjoy it.  I always thought that I would have to scour my brain to come up with things that were witty, clever and better than anyone else could do in order to be noticed and get my point across at the same time.  In all fairness, I suppose I never gave myself the chance to succeed, or fail.  I really didn't.

I went on in life with this same wall in front of me.  Writers have a gift.  They know cool words and have exceptional grammar skills.  I knew cool words, but making them sound cool in a paragraph... nope.  I did well with grammar, but still put in way too many commas in just about everything I wrote.  I don't really know why I thought this.  I guess I didn't know the process of writing, really.

I started this blog a few years ago simply because I wanted to journal things that I felt were noteworthy.  Maybe my kids would want to read it, someday.  I don't blog often.  I have a cousin that has blogged everyday, without fail, for two years.  I bow to thee, Bernadette!  I bow to thee.  I can't.  Sometimes, I just don't have anything to say.  Other times, I'm not up to it, physically.  That's just me.  Still, I love doing it... when I feel like it.  Just like art;  if it's forced, I can't do it.

Wrong.

Enter my best friend, Donna.  Back in September, she started posting things on her wall on Facebook about this writing contest.  I had no idea what she was talking about.  She raved on an on about this story she was going to write.  She may have even mentioned that I might look into it.  Now, I've gotten a few compliments on my blog writing, here and there.  She was one that complimented me.  'A blog is not a book' I would tell myself.   Then nearing the end of October, she changed her Facebook cover photo to some weird acronym:  So, I went to Google.

What the hell does that mean?
NaNoWriMo=National Novel Writer's Month.  I sent her a message and asked her, once and for all, to tell me what this was all about.  She told me.  Then she told me it began on November first; just days away.  She urged me to join, again telling me that I had what it took to at least give it a try.  If I didn't want to continue, at least I would have tried.

Thirty days to write 50,000 words.  No proof-reading.  No editing.  Just writing.  Straightforward writing.  I had no idea what to write about!  She gently prodded me.

"Just write.  Before you know it, you'll have something!"  I was skeptical but something in me screamed,

"DO IT!"

I did.  I was shocked at how, all of a sudden, not only were words flowing out of me like my own blood, but a story was being born!  I wrote every day except for two days.  I found myself writing into the wee hours of the morning.  I found myself running to jot ideas down.  I was taking a shower one morning and actually ran out of the bathroom, shampoo blinding me, with a grand idea for my protagonist, buck naked and not caring who saw me.  I had to get that idea down!  This was brand new to me and I loved it!  I would lie awake in bed and all kinds of scenarios played in chaos.  I would get up and just start writing.    Remember, I said I couldn't do this.  Now, I couldn't stop.

I told only a few people at first what I was doing.  I guess I felt I would disappoint fewer people if I did it this way and found I couldn't continue.  Funny, because two of the people I did mention it to laughed it off.  "Oh, that's the site that tells you to write 50,000 words in a month.  Anyone can do that.  If I did that, I would end up with 50,000 words that made no sense and totally sucked.  Oh, well, I don't mean you.  Yours wouldn't suck!"  Gee, thanks. I mean, I did kind of get what they were trying to say.  Remember The Shining?

There were a few moments toward the end where I totally wanted to do what Jack did.  Still, I fought on.  I didn't want to just write words.

By the time I hit the 45,000 mark, an amazing thing happened.  I became very melancholy.  I was now satisfied with the way my story was going and knew where it was heading toward.  It was as if it was now a mini-series (all you kids... go ask your folks what those are) and I couldn't wait until the next episode!  As I neared the end, I actually became anxious.  Not scared, but nervous.  I felt as if I would be leaving not only my brand new circle of online Maryland (Crabbers) NaNo buddies, but I felt like was saying goodbye to my new friends - friends that I created!  I was so happy to be nearing my glittery periwinkle blue finish line (my finish line is periwinkle blue with birdies holding it in their little beaks, beckoning me to cross), but yet sad, because I spent so much time with these new characters!  I not only created them, I grew to care for them; love them.

Not to sound like Forrest Gump, but I wrote for twenty two days, nine hours and forty-six minutes.  It took me just twenty-two days to cross my sparkly periwinkle finish line.  I had to psych myself up to do it, too.  And when I did it, when I refreshed my word counter and saw those numbers, I cried.  I was alone and I let it out.  I did it.  I met the goal.  I wrote a story.  A novel.  To quote a new friend, "You're a novelist, dammit!"  Yes, dammit!  I was;  am.  I cannot even begin to express how it felt when I finished.  Not like I did some great feat, or like getting to the apex of a great mountain.  I don't know, even now.  I did learn something about myself, though;  I love to write.  I am a novice and I am nowhere near ready for a publisher, but it felt good and I had fun doing it. I have dipped my toes into the pool of creativity again, and wound up jumping in with all of my clothes on.  I'll be writing more.  Maybe my little story will turn into something more than just a little novel.  I fell in love with my characters and don't want them to disappear, just yet.

Yeah, I'm kinda proud of that!
I do want to thank my friend Donna.  It was she who nudged me, and sometimes not all that gently, either.  She knew I could do it, and supported me when I was struggling.  That's another thing I love and will miss about NaNo; the wonderful support from fellow writers.  I'll be having a little celebration with Donna and another friend, Kristin, who I met through Donna and NaNo.  I can't wait to meet her and to thank her, as well.  She too urged me onward and supported me when I felt like I was trying to get blood from a stone.  Thank you too, Kristin.

The holidays are now upon us.  My home will be getting painted tomorrow and there is chaos everywhere.  I have yet to proof my little novel.  I'm saving that for a day when I can relax with a cup of tea and relax with it.  I'm looking forward to meeting up with my newly created friends.  I miss them.

Until next time,

Write On! 

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