Alexander's Lament
  • Maybe there's a novel left in me after all

    Last month, maybe late September, a pen pal of mine asked if I was going to do NaNoWriMo. My instant reaction was to scoff, "Of course not!"

    Then I kinda thought about it. It didn't sound like a half bad idea. It also sounded like a terrible idea. 

    Back when I used to do NaNoWriMo successfully in Michigan, it was a lot easier to sequester myself, to hunker down like a little cave goblin and hiss if anyone came too close and threatened to get between me and my word count. 

    This November, hoo boy. Not only are we going to Disney for almost a week, but then my mother in law and her boyfriend are coming to town a few days after we get back. Then there's the regular things we do, dnd groups, book clubs, hanging out with friends. If that weren't enough, I got the Regal Unlimited movie pass a few months back, and there are a ton of good movies coming out this month. Trying to add 1600 words a day on top of that sounded like madness.

    And yet, something about it was compelling. i've been 'trying' to write now for several months, but mostly just spinning my wheels and not writing. 

    So I decided to go ahead and do NaNo. If I worked hard, I could front load the month with lots of words, so that if I got ANY while we were away, it would be helpful, but not break me if I didn't get to it.

    But I haven't really found the NaNo group out here to be my style. It's nothing against them, it's just that, well, this is a college town. The announcement said that all NaNo events this year would be on the Liberty campus, and let's be honest, that's a resounding no thank you from me. Plus, the group doesn't seem very big or active. So having that form of support wasn't going to happen. It would be detrimental to go skulking around on the forums looking for conversation rather than just writing. 

    Then, it got to the last few days of October. I was itching to just get started already. That's when I had an epiphany:

    I don't want to do NaNoWriMo, I want to write a novel. 

    It's nothing against NaNo. But I've been used it as a crutch in the past - sure, I get words written, but I don't do it in a very healthy way. It's all or nothing, and it's good for getting words down, but poor for revising or carrying out a habit in the long term. I want to write in a way that is sustainable for my life. 

    So, that's what I'm doing. I've been puttering away at this novel for the better part of a week and a half now? I'm aiming to write at least a thousand words, or spend at least an hour trying to write, at least every other day. So far, I'm doing a little bit better than that, and I'm pleased. I like what I'm writing, and accepting the fact that it's going to be a clunky first draft that requires a lot of revision, should it ever get that far. 

    But mostly, I'm just happy to be doing it.