If you recall, last year, I spent a lot of my November dramatically engrained in the art of writing a 50,000 word novel. I did this because I like the idea of being part of the novel writing initiative called NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writer’s Month. The idea that I am competing against myself and a deadline along side tens of thousands of other would-be writers is exciting to me. It brings something out of me.
Last year was the first time I ever finished a 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days. I wouldn’t exactly call it a novel, and I haven’t gone back to retouch it since then. I just don’t feel like that particular book is going to ever get utilized. It was really more of a memoire than a novel. I’ll probably mine some of it for other projects in the future and I’ve even posted exerts from it here on the blog under articles called, “Slashing it all to Pieces.” I wanted to share some of my writing with my blog readers and let them know that I really don’t have much of a knack for doing things like “plot” or “storyline.”
This year, I was determined to finish again, but this time I was going to write a real novel. It was going to be a real 50,000 word story with a beginning, middle, and end. It was going to be clever, original, and genius.
Then, the work I did got eaten by the Gods of “Back up your stuff, moron!” I lost all the work I had done so far. This was purely my fault. I should have known better. I’ve always known better in the past.
When I lost that work, I began to wallow in self pity.
This month has been hard on me in a lot of ways, and I let it really get me down. I hate it when I let my emotions control my actions, but with the stress and grief, I just couldn’t get myself to keep going. I checked out for a while in a multitude of ways, mostly turning inward. I hid from myself and my work. I ignored the creative need inside me. I made the worst mistake a writer can make. I let myself not write.
I just kept on not writing, too.
This weekend was Thanksgiving, and that’s a time when we reflect on the things that matter most to us in life. We’re supposed to think about the things we’re thankful for. I’d started out this month, dead set on making my 30 days of Thanks count, but as things happened that I wasn’t emotionally ready to handle, I began to not feel very thankful. I still don’t, I guess.
I’m not sure I’m doing okay.
I’m not sure I’ve ever been really doing okay.
Last night, I started to binge on something new. It wasn’t pills, booze, or even fried chicken. It was words.
It suddenly occurred to me that not only was I way behind on my writing for NaNoWriMo, that I was way behind on everything I wanted to accomplish in life.
Like an explosion going off in my head, I suddenly had an overwhelming urge to prove to myself that I can do this. I decided that with 6 days left on the clock, I would write 50,000 words. I told myself, “They don’t have to be good words. They just have to be words on a page. You have to get this done. You have to do this. There is no other choice.”
So, I did something I hadn’t done since last November. I put together an outline.
77 Plot points, mapped out like directions from Google Maps.
All I have to do is write 650 words for each point.
I can do this.
I can make that happen.
So far, I have 9,259 of those words in the bag. That’s a lot. That’s almost 1/5 of the total. Today is 11/26. I still have 5 days left on the clock.
I can do this. I can make that goal.
I need to do it. For myself.
I need to prove to myself that I can get over the things that knock my ass in the dirt.
I just wish I had been able to get myself off my ass a little earlier.
I have goals.
I have a direction I want to go in my life. I’m going to admit that right now to all of you.
I want to get paid to do this.
To put words and thoughts into the mind of others.
I want to get paid to tell my stories.
I want to be able to do that so that I don’t have to feel all the failure that I’ve been piling up around me for a long time now.
I don’t know what I need to do to accomplish those goals yet, but I’m going to do it.
I’m not going to feel like a sell out for it either.
Maybe I’ll figure out the magic formula.
If I do, I’ll share it.
Maybe I won’t.
I don’t know.
I just know that I can’t keep waiting for something to happen to me. I have to make something happen for me.
I have to get it done.
This feels like the first step.