Friday, November 01, 2013
NaNoWriMo day 1: all in
Here's the back story: I first read about NaNoWriMo on my friend Kim's blog in 2007. Back then, I was in poetry mode and the idea of writing An Entire Novel In One Month sounded like lunacy. Then I spent the next several Aprils writing a poem every day and got used to the idea of cranking out crazy amounts of creative writing in a condensed period of time. But still, a novel?
Flash forward to February 2013. I've always liked YA fiction; I still keep copies of my old faves, like Robin McKinley, Ursula K. Le Guin and Susan Cooper, and reread them periodically. I had just finished the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, which I really enjoyed, and then I reread the last book of the Twilight series because the movie was about to come out. I enjoyed that less, because (amongst other reasons) it irks me when an author chooses a backdrop with which she isn't familiar and the little details don't ring true.
I started thinking, if I were writing a book... what kind of story might happen here in my hometown that I would actually want to read about? Who would the protagonist be? Quite surprisingly, the beginnings of a story unfolded in my head. Over a couple weeks I started to flesh out a timeline, a story arc, a cast of characters--and one night when I had terrible insomnia, I stayed up until 3 a.m. writing the prologue. Two chapters quickly followed, and then a third and a fourth. I hit a wall in the spring, but then in July, I pulled together a fifth chapter and started the sixth before the wall went up again.
As October drew to a close, I started talking with my friend Andrea, also a writer, about what happens to us when we don't write, and she shared a stark insight with me, via Brené Brown: "Unused creativity isn't benign."
It's been coming on for a few years now, but I'm finally, on a deep level, starting to understand that writing is integral to my self-care, and I've been neglecting it for a long, long time. I'm just not quite right when I don't write. I've looked wistfully at my friends' blogs and wished I felt like I had time to blog or write in some other creative way, and my absence from creativity eats at me in small but significant ways.
Last week, I began the process of resetting my internal clock by trying to get up at 6:00 every morning. It was pretty miserable, and some mornings I just wrote in my journal, because I was still coming up short on how to move forward with where I left off in my book. This week, I've dragged myself out of bed every morning when my alarm goes off (no matter what time I crawled into it the night before), and most mornings, my body has actually woken me up about five minutes before my phone beeps at me. It's paying off; the other day, I suddenly found the spark I needed to pick up my story.
Then, this morning, I had another flash of inspiration: blog during NaNoWriMo. Write, and write about the process. Most days I probably won't be sharing what I wrote for my book, but aspects of the story, and parts of the early chapters that are slightly more polished. While it's unlikely I'll finish the whole book this month, even a page a day is better than what I've been doing.
And even a page feels really, really good.
Today's word count: 393