I decided to do a thing, and that thing is called NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month, which is in November. This is a big deal for me because, if you were unaware, I have had a novel sitting inside me for a few years that I just haven’t been able to get out, and I am hoping this is the push I need.
Everyday you go to the site and put in your word count, with the goal of reaching 50,000 words by the end of November. You cannot start writing until November 1st. Most people spend the month of October preparing (preptober,) and that is where I am right now. I have an outline, I have character notes, I have idea lists, I have research topics, I have dialogue snippets…I am over prepared, and yet I feel lost at sea. I have been plotting this in my head for FIVE YEARS. I remember the day it came to me. Robin Williams had just committed suicide and I was heartbroken. From that grief for a person I did not even know, a seed for a story was planted, and it has grown into a wild underbrush that I find I must tame into landscaped masterpiece.
I have been looking for all the preptober worksheets and tips I can find. I have asked my Twitter friends for their input. I have even delved into building a world for my character that is outside the one I reside in, which is far out of my comfort zone but is allowing me to express myself creatively. I am doing all the right things.
I am terrified.
Of what, you ask? Of writing 1667 words a day, that’s what. That’s my weekly blog output. How can I do that much each day and call it good? But it doesn’t have to be good, I remind myself. It just has to be words on paper. I can make it good later. My fear, however, is that I am too direct. I do not expound on slight details and I am not verbose with my descriptions. I am straightforward, and this lowers my word count, and makes me stress about how much I am putting out there. I have been adding to my idea list regularly so that I always have something to write, even if I have to jump around a little. Still, it scares me, making me feel like I am not up to the task.
I think about the deadlines of my youth, when I would scramble to the computer lab after lunch to finish some term paper or essay, and type them off like my fingers were on fire, always on topic, always an accurate word count, always a good grade. Those were my way of succeeding-pulling off essays on topics I had long thought of but only sat down to write in the 11th hour. November will be my novel’s 11th hour.
Due to my current lack of employment I have plenty of time during the week to work but I am concerned about the weekends, especially those I spend with my kiddos. I told K that I would have to write for at least two hours each day, and she vowed to guard my office door so that I would be undisturbed. I almost cried at this little outpour of support from the youngest of them, and Hubs smiled at me and told me I could do it. They all tell me I can do it. My team is 100% behind me and that gives me hope.
Yet, self-doubt is strong when it comes to my writing, and the little voices in my head that tell me I’m not good enough come calling with no invitation. Sane Brigid, the side of my brain that rules us most of the time, tells me that this other Brigid is a loony toon and she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Sane Brigid shouts her down every time, but that doesn’t mean Crazy Brigid isn’t still there, whispering at night when the words just won’t come.
I try my best to keep my head up and stay focused on the tasks at hand but sometimes that becomes difficult. Sometimes I just want to give up and walk away. I am doing NaNoWriMo so that I can hold myself accountable when that happens, and not give up on my project. I believe in my story, and I want it told. I will work my ass off over the next month to make that happen.
So, friend and family and reader, I may be talking about NaNo a lot over the next month. I may be a little scatterbrained. I may not get a blog out. I may not get anything out other than the thing I am forcing myself out of me, this 50,000-word behemoth that I have been carrying around for so long. Hopefully though, December 1st will roll around and I will be able to say that I did it, that I finally competed the first draft of my first novel, and I will be satisfied.