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.