Thursday, January 31, 2013

NaNoWriMo, You Can Kiss My Flat, Nonexistent Butt (And Other Thoughts When Reaching 50,001)


I decided the last week of October to join NaNoWriMo this year. I started off with good intentions, as is how things work.
And then due to approximately thirty-seven thousand things blowing up in my face… well, let’s just say I didn’t get to 50k.
Not by a long shot. I was too busy having an existential crisis, or five.

Was I okay with the fact that I miserably failed NaNo? For the most part, yes. I walked in with no story and no plot (and finally came up with one on November 2nd at 11:30 PM). There were all sorts of other things going on at the same time.

I think we can say I officially started writing this book January 6th- the verrrry end of December, if you’re counting when I first started scribbling down notes for it.
To put it mildly, this has been QUITE the month in the life of KK, for all sorts of various and sundry reasons.

So, what happened this month? Well, the beginning of the month saw me on a vacation/mental health break after having quit my last job, where they were really and truly crazy. Yes, they have given me plenty of material, but no, they will not be in the upcoming book. Maybe in one somewhere down the line, when I can laugh about it easier than I can right now. January saw me sign up to take the GRE in mid-February, and start to study for said four and a half hour torture session that I was PAYING for. Education is so weird. January 14th saw me start the New Job. (Where they are lovely, wonderful people who let me listen to music while I work, God bless their wonderful souls.) This past Tuesday saw me start spring semester of graduate school, complete with a boatload of homework.

Today is January thirty-first.
NaNoWriMo, you can kiss my flat, pretty much non-exsistent behind, because a little while ago, I typed the fifty-thousand-and-first word of my book.

Granted,
A lot of it is crap.
There are plot holes in what I’ve written, and for what I have planned for the rest of the book, and from now till I type the words The End are going to be some iiiinteresting times.
I still have a long, long, LONG way to go.

But I got here.
Somewhere I never imagined I would get to.

Now, this post isn’t to brag. (Well, mostly not. Because I can brag a teeny bit, right? Thanks. I appreciate it.)
Because honestly, if you would have asked me last month if I could have written over fifty thousand words for a story I had only started to think about by the end of January, I would have laughed in your face. But here we are.
Now, I can write a whole post about all the secret little tricks that can make you, too, write like a crazy person for a month. But I won’t.
Mostly, because there aren’t that many secret tricks.
Yes, you need to learn what works for you. Can you trick yourself into being creative? Yes, but it takes time. Can you learn to type 70 wpm so when those flood of ideas come, you can type fast enough to keep up with them? Yup. (Mavis Beacon, my old pal, is responsible for my typing skills. And a certain third-grade typing teacher who painted nail polish over all the letters on the keyboard so we couldn’t cheat.)
Can you write plotlines, do character outlines, or write drunk, if that’s what fuels your creativity? Oh, indeedy you can.  (No, I haven’t written drunk yet. But I’m willing to try it one night…) Word prompts, picture prompts, song prompts, food prompts? Honey, you can use pretty much anything to spark creativity. To write that many words a month? There is a certain amount of discipline and focus you need to have, along with the ability to not sleep for an indefinite period of time.
But when it really boils down to it, those are all flimsy covers, and see-through magic tricks. There aren’t really any sure-fire ways. There are no hidden secrets.

It’s just you and your words.

So for all of you who are debating whether to start- whether to try to start, because you’re scared you’ll never get anywhere, or that everything you write will be meaningless tripe.
This is for you.
From the bottom of my heart to yours.

Just start.
Start even if you don’t know where it’s going to go.
Start even if you think it’s stupid.
Start even if you don’t think anyone will want to read it.
Start even if you’re doing it during your lunch break, between your classes, or while the baby sleeps.
Start.

I can’t tell you much about finishing. I haven’t gotten there yet.
But if there was any advice I took to heart, it was this.
Do it.
Just write. Write what you need to write. Whatever you need to express. Whatever is bubbling inside you. Regardless of if people want to hear it, you need to write it. It may never go anywhere past your eyes, but if it’s in you and it needs to be written and you don’t write it, you are slowly killing pieces of yourself.
It will be hard.
You will have nothing to say at times.
You will probably drink more (fill in blank with your beverage of choice) while you do it than you have in the past two years.
You’ll detox later.

For nobody’s sake but your own, write.
Put your fingers to the keyboard. Put your pen to the paper. Put your spray paint to the wall. I don’t care how you do it.
Write.
Write.
Write.

And know that I’m here, cheering you on.
And writing.

-KK

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