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NaNoWriMo – Give it a Go!

November 9, 2012

One of many journals, and many thanks to all

Interested in cultural psychology and overall well-being, I stumbled through Gretchin Rubin’s The Happiness Project. It’s a fun read that allows you to connect with the characters, making it more involved than a how-to type of book.

Books have a way of striking with people uniquely, and turning the pages of this book rekindled ambition to write that had came and passed months prior. She introduced me to NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Already wanting to write a novel I played with a few ideas for a week or so, and then took the advice most writers give–I started writing.

It was October, and NaNo is in November, but this was a personal goal I wanted to reach no matter what the month.

On October 2nd I began. Once the words started laying on the page and a couple scrapped beginnings, I found my groove.

The process fascinated me. Writing a story, creating scenes and characters–some premeditated, some just fell into place–invited me into a new fictional world for 25 intense days manifesting a digitally dense manuscript at 58,000 words.

Writing started out slow, but the story evolved and my focus tightened, daily word counts were raising and time tapping away at the keys increased and entered early mornings and late nights when time was free. I was completely hooked and loving every word of it.

Because I’d never written a story before, nor considered myself much of a story teller, it was that much more of a challenge.

We all need challenges in life. They make us feel good–success helps, but even giving your best effort you learn, grow and feel stimulation.

At first I thought I’d start writing here and there, not stressing it and not holding myself to 50,000 words or ‘The End’ within a month, but within the first 4 days that changed to full on commitment.

Not only commitment, but willed writing. It felt good to have a goal to shoot for and no idea how I was going to get there, if I was going to get there or what to expect. This, of course, made it all that much more fun.

When you write fast and daily, you become one with your story. You use massive amounts of creative energy, entering zones of prose where time does not exist, envisioning, imagining, creating.

Reaching the end felt great, but at the same time hurt.

Post-novel depression touches you before the end is actually reached. It’s anticipation of a known outcome. Once I finished, I felt blue, lost, confused and depressed without the daily unraveling of scenes and time spent with the characters.

Not yet familiar with the phenomenon, I was just in a slump. However, as Rubin’s book fell timely into my life when I was able to grasp NaNo’s concept and had the drive and time to make it materialize, this concept was revealed to me in the pages of another book on writing (the title escapes me).

Just as the challenges and goals in life that come with a feeling of fear are the most worthy of our attention, feeling distraught and finding out it is a common reflection among writers made my frown begin to turn like a kid having a tantrum, wanting to continue, but unable to put up a fuss any longer once an ice cream cone is in hand.

If you’ve been considering writing a novel, by all means, commit and experience the process. It’s revelatory. I learned a lot from writing my manuscript, even though it all came from inside my own head.

You will find the first few paragraphs of my novel in my previous post.

If you enjoy writing, write! If you don’t always feel like doing so, make yourself sit down for at least half an hour and make yourself write–about anything. Often times thoughts will string together and you won’t be able to stop, finding yourself seating with a long written entry in front of you an hour and half later.

To writers, those who like to write, readers, the curious and inspired, please share if you have had similar experiences, as well as any thought uniquely derived while reading this post or any comment you see fit. I’d love to hear.

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