What Was I Thinking, or NaNoWriMo 2016

November 7, 2016

There's absolutely no good reason why I should be attempting NaNoWriMo again. I mean, I've tried before. More than once. What I discovered then is that it doesn't mesh well with my style of writing, which consists, to a large extent, of editing as I go. I treat sentences like tiny sculptures: I write it, and then can spend the better part of an hour (or more) polishing it, adding or subtracting, reading it aloud to myself again and again, working on the thing until it shines or I'm sick of looking at it or both. NaNoWriMo not only discourages that mode of writing, it downright precludes it.

 

On top of that, NaNo comes at a time of year when I'm most busy. I have three kids to homeschool, one of whom is a senior, which adds college and scholarship applications, projects, and general senior-y experiences to my calendar, most of which are up to me to make happen. My husband and I are also the hosts of our family's annual Thanksgiving get together, which involves a lot of feasting and merriment (and planning and cooking).

 

And of course, there's the flood mayhem still to contend with. Cleanup continues apace, but it's a marathon, not a sprint. Everything that used to live in our garage is spread out over most of the available covered surfaces outside, which makes looking for tools, etc interesting, to say the least. Then there's coordinating the pickup of flood damaged freezers, refrigerators, air conditioning units, etc; working with the insurance and mortgage companies regarding claims, and finding reputable contractors for the repair work, mixed in with a healthy dose of survivor's guilt and the nagging feeling that we should be able to do some of the repairs ourselves.

 

Still, in the midst of all of that, I find myself daydreaming a lot, mostly about the fiction I want to write. There's something magical about the start of a new journey, something about not knowing where the road leads that pulls you inward and onward. Stories are like that, for me. Writing is where my mind goes whenever I'm not occupied elsewhere. It's where I live, really, when I'm not in the "real" world.

 

And so, in the midst of all the insanity that comes with a typical autumn at my house, I found myself in the last days of October staring out the window at the falling leaves, thinking, and longing for my homeland. And so I thought, why not?

 

NaNoWriMo is all about raw word count. There's no time for editing, or revising of any sort. It's go, go, go, just get it done, plunge in and plow through until you come out on the other side. It completely upends my usual way of writing, and I'm finding it pretty exhilarating, to be honest. I look back at what I've written and I think, Oh my god that's complete crap! and then I gleefully ignore it and just write on. It doesn't matter that the plot is full of holes or the characters say stupid things or the descriptions are trite and derivative. It only matters that the thread is unspooled, rolling and rolling and rolling, and that I am holding it, walking with wonder through the place where I most belong.

 

Maybe this year I'll make it.

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