So, as I’m sure the hordes of Millions of screaming fans who read my blog are aware, I left my job earlier this year. In the way of contemporary modern American culture—particularly along the Eastern Seaboard—this instantaneously solicited all kinda micromanaging of my entire life by friends, family, homeless people on the street, random strangers, current and former coworkers, grocery store clerks, baristas, cab drivers and bus drivers. I’m really not sure why leaving my job leads people to believe that I am incapable of picking out deodorant in the drugstore and would benefit from guidance from someone I’ve never met, but that’s the way it is. I would point out that I have a lot of allergies and skin sensitivities, so when you see me next in the drugstore, please take that into account when “mentoring” my purchase.
Among the things I was told I should do—or at least consider doing—was write a book. “Why don’t you write a book?” I heard about twenty times in the middle part of this year. So, I did. I did NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.
That’s what you said, but it’s not what you meant, was it? You meant I should write some floofy commentary on American culture or a pedantic analysis of some emerging policy area. But what you said was, “Why don’t you write a book?” And I did that. You can’t say I didn’t do what you said. I did. Maybe it wasn’t what you meant, but you didn’t say what you meant. You said what you said and I did that. Maybe this will learn you to go back to running your own messed up life and quit trying to run mine, which might be less than perfect, but you can’t really say it is messed up, because I just wrote a book. In a month. Ha. Plus, all my pictures are organized in physical or online photo albums, and I’ve printed out a bunch of my pictures and put them in stylish frames on my walls.
I thought NaNoWriMo was a really good experience. I feel like I learned a lot and built confidence. This is certainly the most complex, largest creative writing project I’ve ever completed, or attempted. It was a big time sink, but actually not as bad as you might think. I was actually way behind on word count on the Monday before Thanksgiving. I finished yesterday at around nine at night, I wasn’t able to verify my word count until today. The make or break day was last Sunday. I started the day with fewer than 32,000 words and finished with over 40,000. At that point, I knew I would make the 50,000 word limit.
NaNoWriMo is all about word count, so your novel can end in the middle of a sentence and you still “Win.” To my own amazement, not only did I write more than 50,000 words in one month, I also completed the story. That’s right, start to finish, one story done done done.
I’ll admit, I made life a bit easier on myself by choosing to write a modern interpretation of a fairytale, in the spirit of Mirror, Mirror (the book not the movie). In my own defense, this is a legitimate, well-populated genre and a novel is a novel is a novel and every story pulls on what came before and lays the groundwork for the next. I can honestly say, I had no idea when I started on November 1 where my characters would wind up. I was probably more surprised than a reader would be. I hadn’t chosen names for most of the characters and most of them didn’t even exist yet in my imagination, I really did, make it up as I went along. 🙂
And with that, I return from the Black Hole of NaNoWriMo (no, it is not a Mork & Mindy tribute project; no, I don’t have a Nana; no, I’m not studying Wildlife biology; no, it’s not going to be like Babar; it a writing project, no not poetry).
Certainly the last few weeks have provided plenty of fodder for contrarian analysis. I take a few weeks off for the book project you wanted and the World goes to Hell in a handbasket? Pepper spraying your fellow man, on Thanksgiving, to get Xbox, and it like wasn’t even a new Xbox. Merry Christmas and Spirt of the Holiday to you too.