The Night Before NaNoWriMo
The Night Before NaNoWriMo puts a scare into the hearts of veteran participants because they the next month will require total dedication to the written word. #NaNoWriMo
It’s Halloween night. Ghost, ghouls, or zombies aren’t the apparitions haunting the edges of my mind. The specters making my blood boil are plot points, character development, spelling, and grammar. In less than five hours NaNoWriMo will begin. There are twenty-six letters plus punctuation marks and numerals on my computer keyboard. They will be my best friends and worse enemies over the course of the next month. Characters will whisper to me like eerie phantoms trapped in the corners of the attic of my mind struggling to break free.
Fingers might turn into bloody appendages on the night before NaNoWriMo
I will type until it feels like my fingers are about to turn into bloody appendages attached to my hands. NaNoWriMo is the stuff of a Stephen King-inspired nightmare, but I’m still going to participate.
I know what I’m in for. I’ve jumped on the NaNoWriMo wagon for the past five years. In the first two years, I didn’t enter my word count for a final total. I simply typed away on a book until I reached the 50,000 words before I called it quits. In the next two years, I found a group at a local library and wrote with them. Last year I was on my own again. A part of me is a glutton for punishment, but I’m throwing my hat in the ring again this year.
Why would any writer put themselves through the torture
As I write this piece, I’m asking myself why any writer would put themselves through the torture of NaNoWriMo every year. Isn’t it hard enough to conjure up an entire world out of thin air and go through the process of reconstructing that alternative universe in writing? I can only speak from personal experience. I searched my mind and came up with a few answers to the burning question of why I engage in the process. The first reason I do NaNoWriMo every year is I love the concept of writers from all over the world taking up the gauntlet. It’s a burst of creativity we collectively throw out into the universe.
Writing is such a solitary process. It’s nice to know there are other life forms out there trying to achieve the same goal. I also like NaNoWriMo because it inspires me to step out of my comfort zone. My challenge has become bigger in scope since I first engaged in the process of creating fifty-thousand words in thirty days. In December, I will pick the genre my fifty-thousand words will be written in for the year 2020. My reading for the next year will be directed towards the genre I select. In 2018, I wrote a vampire book I titled Fortune’s Revenge.
My choice of reading material determines what I write for NaNoWriMo
After reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I discovered there was a lot of vampire literature I’d never been exposed to. I read every book I could get my hands on dealing with Vampires and still didn’t cover the entire topic. I was able to finish my vampire book. It waits on a flash drive for revision.
This year has been the year of the romance novel. Rooster has been enjoying my choice of reading material very much. He thinks every year should be declared NaNoWriMo romance writing adventure around our house. I’m excited to put my story down on the page this year. The final reason I like the concept is the competition is against no one but myself. The words I type don’t have to be perfect or even good. All that is required of me is to type fast until my fingers are numb.
I admit to being a bad competitor on the night before NaNoWriMo
The simple truth is I’m a very bad competitor. I tend to lag behind in a race for the finish line. The only time in my life where I’ve ever had victory is when I am in competition against myself. It spurs me on to be better than when I woke up the day before. When I load my final word count on November 30th, I will be the clear victor because I was able to type the end to a work I never would have attempted if not for NaNoWriMo.
This year will be a challenge for several reasons. I’ve known since last January; the first part of the story will take place in New York City. Two high school sweethearts will meet again after not seeing one another for ten years at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. He’s in town for business. She’s a New Yorker. I’m a pantster. I write by the seat of my pants without an outline,
I admit to being a pantster on the night before NaNoWriMo
Beyond the initial meeting, I have no idea where the story is going to go. I know there will be tension. A current boyfriend and an ex-wife need to be thrown into the mix. My female protagonist has a secret because you always need to have a secret to make things interesting. There will be adventures I need to take and blog posts that will need to be written. I can’t stop going on adventures just because there are fifty-thousand words I need to get down on the page this month.
Life has a way of getting in the way when you set out on a journey as difficult as NaNoWriMo. It will through the unexpected at you without warning. One achievement I took away from my first attempt at the challenge was learning how to say no without feeling guilty because I had to do some writing. The experience taught me I don’t have to apologize for my writing time.
I still need to walk
One activity I can’t diminish in frequency this year is my walking. In February, I made the commitment to walk five miles a day. I had to take up the activity for health reasons. I’ve seen a dramatic improvement in the condition I was diagnosed with because I manage to meet the goal at least five times a week. Walking takes time. I need to carve out a chunk of my day to walk and still make my word count.
Trip to New York City
Then there is the trip Rooster and I will be taking to New York City. When your baby chick sends you free airline tickets, it’s part of the mama hen code to get on the plane and fly even if you are doing NaNoWriMo. Rooster and I will board the plane on Thanksgiving Day.
We won’t be back until after the first of December. I plan to take my laptop with me. Who knows, maybe I will type the end to my fifty-thousand words at a coffee shop in Queens, Greenwich Village, or Soho. I’d be living my favorite writer’s dream to finish a book at a coffee house in New York City. However it plays out, this years’ Nanowrimo is going to be an exciting adventure.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
Be sure to follow Molly on Twitter!