Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The top 10 reasons why my NaNoWriMo Novel doesn't suck


or wont completely suck, when I am done.

1. It’s mine. Like one’s own children, I just have to like it. Like one’s own family, I may talk bad about it, but if you do, I will punch you in the nose. Like all the rest of my stuff, new and shiny, or old and worn, it is mine. Not yours, mine! Therefore it doesn’t suck. It is full of my dreams, sweat, glaring mistakes, and glimmers of hope. I will always have this, I wrote a novel. Good or bad. Published or in a shoe box in the closet. I wrote a novel.

2. For once in my life, I am saying it is okay to start at the beginning. It is okay to not know what the heck I am doing, and instead of using that as a reason for stopping, just keep going. To believe I will learn things along the way, I will learn from this process, rather than my usual if I don’t know what I am doing, I shouldn’t be doing it at all. (read as, embracing the inevitability of suckiness, doesn't suck)
A great thing about NaNo is I can’t even sit around wallowing in my own ignorance, harassing myself over my own stupidity, because in order to keep up with the daily word count, I just don’t have the time.

3. For once I am saying “yes”, or at least I am saying “maybe”, to a dream. A dream I have held for years, always may be, but lacked the guts, and the resolve to pursue. For once, instead of saying I have to wait, till I am smarter, prettier, clever, can spell, develop some supernatural talent, am struck by lightening or by God, till I am better in every way than I am today, instead of waiting to be good enough, I am saying yes to the person I am today, I am saying come as you are and go for it. Insecure full of doubt, I keep going. Afraid, nervous, I keep going. It doesn’t suck to face one’s fears, and to choose to believe that something is possible. For once.

4. For once I am saying “no". No to those around me, who keep asking for my time, and looking pitiful and whining, and asking me to do stuff for them. I am saying no to them for this month (not always, but a lot more than I usually would), and I am saying I am doing this NaNo thing, and it is important to me, I have a word count I "must” keep up with, “I can’t” do this that or the other thing right now, and you are just going to have to understand that.

5. My NaNoWriMo novel knows stuff about me that no one else does. (stuff I wouldn’t go around telling people at parties, but stuff it is worthwhile for me to know). It knows both emotional, spiritual types of things, and more basic writerly ones, like I use the same words over and over again. (very loyal I am)

6. No matter how bad it may be, at the end, I will have a place to start. I will have a framework for a true beginning.

7. I will never read a book the same way again. Now having faced writing issues, of trying to work descriptions into a scene without interrupting story flow, having attempted transitions from one part to the next, and flashbacks, and working with the concept of time, all these things I don’t know how to do, but was never forced through before in my writing because I just did the pieces I did know and didn’t connect them, well now having tried and blundered through them, now I will pay more attention to how someone else has handled these things, and I will learn from them, in a way I couldn’t have before. (even little things, like when to stop using commas and start a new sentence)

8. My NaNoWriMo novel is a perfect snapshot of me right now, where I am, how I am, and also by it’s mere existence, of where and how I want to be.

9. I am on the verge of no longer being a novel writing virgin. This will be the first time I have gone all the way. And like having sex for the first time, there has been fumbling with buttons and clasps, wondering “does my hand go here or there?”, and “Is this supposed to feel like this?”. I had high hopes and expectations, but in some ways I am just trying to get through it. I know it wont be my best, but I will always remember it. And later with time and practice, as I do it again and again, I will develop more skills, and know what works for me and what doesn’t. And sharing this experience with others has been great, having Paul say “Hey I just got to first base” while I was still trying to work up the nerve to get out on the field, really helped push me along. I don’t want the rest of you NaNoWriMo-ers sliding into home without me!

10. Repeat. My NaNo novel doesn’t suck because: 1. It is mine. 2. I am facing my fears. 3. I am saying yes to a dream. 4. I am saying no to my family. 5. I am learning stuff about myself, as a person and as a writer. 6. It is a complete first draft, and therefore a good place to start. 7. Having faced writing challenges I can now better appreciate and see how talented writers handle these same issues in their work. 8. In the future I can look back at this novel, and it will reveal to me who I am today, in this moment. 9. Having the first time behind me now, it will be easier to do it again. 10. Repeat. I will repeat. I will go through this process again and again, till I get to an “end” and look back, and find I have a beginning, middle and end, that are good. Or at least that don’t suck.

17 comments:

Minx said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Taff. Maybe it should be a thank you to November.

Taffiny said...

Minx,
Hi, a happy thank you to November to you!

Your comment is independent of my post right?

I am so tired at present I am wondering if perhaps you mean, my post should be a thank you to November, or my NaNo novel should be, or my heart, or...

Amy said...

I loved this 10 list - as your way of giving yourself positive feedback and encouragement to keep going when the going gets tough - and as an example of what I too should soon be doing...my hardest part...saying no to my family!
Happy Thanksgiving..AMY

sognatrice said...

Go go go!!!!!!!

You are inspiring me to stay up just a bit more tonight and type away....

Taffiny said...

Amy,

Happy Thanksgiving!
(hope your group celebration was fantastic)

I wrote this in response to a blog's "top 10 reasons why your NaNoWriMo novel sucks". It was, I believe, intended to be funny, but it made me indignant, raising my ire. So I quickly jotted down "my top 10 why it doesn't" in response. And I am really glad I did, because by the time I got around to writing up "my top 10" for this blog, my energy was zapped, and I really needed to give myself this pep talk. It was really good for me to focus on my reasons while I expanded them "Why am I doing this again?" "oh, yeah, that's why :)".

Family
I think it can be good for both them and you, to say no to them sometimes.

I saw an Oprah episode several years back, with a woman raising her mentally challenged son. And she talked about how she had learned the importance of preparing him to take care of himself (as much as he possibly can). How she wasn't really helping him by doing things for him, that he was capable of doing for himself. She talked about having him make his own peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, et cetera. Whenever I start to feel too guilty, when my son pours his own cereal, or I talk him into making his own sandwich, I think about that episode of that show. And tell myself I am not in any way harming him.

(Having other kids come over to visit has provided some insight for me too. As I realized they actually help their mom's carry in the groceries!)


Sognatrice,
Thank you. And I hope so, you sure have been inspiring me.
"Go Sognatrice, it's your birthday"

(should I clarify that I am doing the song, and know it has already been your b-day?)

Debi said...

A great list, Taff! Worth getting indignant when it produces such a stream of positive thoughts.

Taffiny said...

Debi,

Thanks.
And that is one reason I'm not planning on moving on with my blog posts till I am done. Apparently I need a daily reminder pep talk.
Thanks for stopping by.

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

Giving voice to our dreams is so important. I'm really glad you're sticking with the novel, Taff - keep going, as you say, whatever happens, there will be no loss. Grow and go, go, go.

Taffiny said...

Vanilla,
Thanks :)

Glad you are well enough to come visiting.
Hope you keep feeling better.

witnessing am i said...

Way to go, Taffiny. You are absolutely right on all accounts, of course. Way to go!!!

Stay strong, stay true.

Vesper said...

Perfect, Taffiny! Godspeed to you!

Taffiny said...

David,
Thank you :)
Gee, I never thought I would hear (or would that be see?) someone say I was right, of course.

Yes, I do have a "way to go". Which begs the question what am I doing here on my blog? Why, getting a pep talk from you, of course.

Vesper,
Godspeed sounds lovely.
Thanks for sending some my way, I never know where one is supposed to stand in line for that. Or do I actually have to do good deeds?

Oh alright, off to work, and the clickety clack of keys.
(how does one spell clickety klack?)

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I am taking a break to enjoy your blog, knowing that I will cross over the finish line tomorrow ... even though I am not really FINISHED finished, which I know you understand completely.

This list is so great! I want to write a post on my blog linking here so every NaNoWriMo participant in the world would come read it and tell you it is wonderful. Go, Taffiny! You go, girl!

Taffiny said...

Bonnie,

You will finish tomorrow, YOU go girrrllll!!!

I should try to too. (that doesn't look right written)

And yes I do know what you mean. :)

Wow, thanks, what an incredibly wonderful thing to say!

It has been great having your enthusiastic support.

I was just telling Bob how important it has been having the support of other bloggers. How I couldn't imagine doing this without it.

He has been supportive in that he is "letting" me do NaNo, a.k.a. not complaining, as the domestic stuff slides a bit (a big bit) and I no longer listen to him talking politics or media, as instead I sit here with my laptop.

But that is not the same as having someone say encouraging words.

Thank you Bonnie. :)

Dana said...

Taffiny,
As you said to Bonnie - You go girl! I am in awe of you, writing your first novel!!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

You nailed it. Those are awesome reasons.

It couldn't have been said better.


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Taffiny said...

Dana,

Hi. Thank you, only I haven't written my first novel, at least not yet, but I am a good deal of the way through my first rough draft. If/when I finish it, then I will be awe too!

Scarlett (& V),

Thank you :)
I am glad you like my reasons. (reasoning)

It is very good to hear that I may at times actually find the right words/way to say something. This gives me hope for the time when I get to my draft re-write. Thank you again.