November 29, 2008


I'm blowing my own horn here, just a bit, but I am incredibly proud of myself. I took part in the NaNoWriMo challenge and succeeded where I hadn't thought I'd ever be able to. 52,037 words.

November is National Novel Writing Month and aspiring writers are challenged by the non-profit organization to write a complete 50,000 word novel in exactly a month. The idea is to turn off the inner critic and just write. The emphasis isn't even on story. Plot is something that can be tweaked or even added later. The challenge is just to get yourself writing, to be one of those that can cross "Write a novel" off their life-long to-do list.

When Teel invited me to join him in early October, I thought he was crazy. I have had a few short research type essays published, but the idea of writing a book didn't really ever cross my mind. Actually, most creative writing just isn't my style. The few times I had to write fiction were some of the most painful I've encountred. By Halloween I had decided that I would go to the midnight kickoff and if I came away with anything resembling the beginning of a story I would stick with it and try to write something worth reading.

I've been writing all month, luckily there were a couple long weekends off in the school calendar so I could get some dedicated writing time, and I'm still not sure if the draft I have finished is anything at all like a readable story, but I finished. For not knowing what I was writing about the first night I sat down to write, this is a major accomplishment.

The challenge is terrifying. Will I be able to write anything? If I can't or if I fail does that mean I'm just not a creative person? If I'm not a creative person why am I even trying this? The process is grueling. I really don't feel like writing tonight, but if I don't that puts me about 16,000 words behind and I've already taken three days off. But the ending is a perfect, glowing, warm fuzzy.

For now, I think I am just going to bask in the glow of winning and not think about my novel for a while. Perhaps in a few months I'll want to go back into it and do some editing, major amounts of editing are needed to make it readable. After that who knows. But, at the very least, I believe I will be taking up the challenge again next year.


His Sinfulness said...

That's awesome, Mandy!

Someday, when I'm not always spending the month of November writing crap for school, I hope to accomplish this as well... (Congratulations on not letting lame excuses like the above stop you!)