This year, I was convinced November would be a dreary one – sunk into the despairing pits of exam preparations as I was.
If you know me for the habitual creature I am, you’ll know that I write in November. Most likely, I write more in November than I do the rest of the year, simply because November is the kick in the ass I need to actually clear my schedule and stop down-prioritizing my writing.
With November, comes NaNoWriMo – and before that, comes the budding excitement, the tingling in my fingertips and distress at the back of my head as the skeleton of a plot begins to assemble. Since signing up to write the first 50k of SNOW in 2007, the dread I felt then has gradually made way for familiarity, and reverence. NaNoWrimo is one of my favorite seasons, though the change has been unnoticeable.
Because every year in October, the excitement and impatience I felt during September has waned into a dread of: “Oh God why, I don’t have the time. I don’t have a plot. HOW DO I?!”
And yet, I’ve always pulled through. This is my sixth NaNo, and it’s different.
The pressure was high with this one – still is.
First and foremost, I am one of these crazy people who writes the 50k in about 1/3 of the time. My first year, the 50 oo0 words were done on Day 19. Somehow, the standard for me as lowered itself to day 9-10. I think Day 9 is the lowest I’ve gone, and this year’s goal was a maddening 8 days of writing to have the challenge conquered by Day 8. Due to procrastination, distraction and this thing called “life”, this obviously didn’t happen. However, we’re at Day 9. I’ve got 42k, and I’m decided on finishing today.
– of course, I’m slightly put off by the fact that I’ve slept for 9(!) hours tonight, and wasted most of my day, postponing everything. I’m also going off to attend the yearly demonstration against the fur industry around five, because I can’t afford to miss it. However, I will finish.
And then one can only hope I don’t do that stupid thing I always do where I hit the goal and just stop, even though I have a whole plot to finish.
SNOW and Jaded were both NaNovels, and they were written “mostly during November” and then “all over the place”.
With SNOW, it was started during NaNo 2007, and then finished in December/January 2009. Jaded turned me into a rebel: it was written over the course of NaNo 2009 and 2010, and then finished up after being more or less deserted, in 2012.
This novel, is probably never going to see the light of day. Sorry to disappoint anyone who’s been hoping while reading my status updates.
I’ve realized that my suspicions about “The Silent” were correct: this isn’t a novel. It’s a short story. Or…perhaps a novella. I don’t know yet. I love these characters, the setting and the plot itself, but after 42 000 words of emptiness, I realize that I’m just trying to fill the void until we get to the actual plot.
I’m sure that you will get to know these characters, and read this story at one point, but not in it’s current state. It’s going to need alot of work before I dare to show it off. But first, I want to finish this atrociousness. I want to map out all possibilities, so that I can freely pick and choose when I decide to work on it properly.
Please wait for that day.
The other thing I’ve been hinting at (oh btw, you guys suck at taking hints. Or, I’m just bad at giving them) has nothing to do with this story; that’s a completely different matter.
This year, I wasn’t going to do this. I thought that it wouldn’t be possible, as I am pining over far too many text books and curriculum at the moment for it to be advisable. However, it turned out to go against my sanity to not participate this year. I decided I wanted to do it – to get these (badly written) words out, and then go back to studying without the stress of not having written for ages hanging over me.
I presumed it would be more insane to try to do this when I’m far more busy this November than I have been for years – I’ve got all kinds of stuff going on, studying for no less than 11 exams, plowing through text books, editing an old project, corresponding with my editor, I need to write essays, and I work. I didn’t think it would be possible to squeeze in NaNo this year, certainly not with the aforementioned pressure of finishing earlier than ever before…
This year’s NaNo is definitely weird. It’s different.
I thought it would be way worse, considering all the factors above.
But the moment the clock on my display hit 00:00 on the evening of October 31st, I put away my social anthropology notes, and started writing. It came with a surge of absolute freedom.
These past 8 days have been very strange – the words are just streaming out, even though I’ve been a bit lazy in the last two days, but the story is shaping up. Last night a plot twist revealed the key to how the pieces would fit together. But it’s weird.
Usually, when I write during November, there’s a very strict routine. Perhaps because I’ve always written characters that have had the chance to develop and become near and dear to me, they’ve always had playlists.
Every year I’ve withhold what I was told by WriMoRadio in 2007; that the best food to keep up your energy level while chasing the word count are tubed potato chips, donuts and buckets of caffeine, and so, I’ve always stocked up the house, and probably wasted time eating when I should’ve been writing.
I’ve pulled over-caffeinated all-nighters, and fallen asleep at the keyboard despite the loud music blaring into the apartment.
And all of this has been NaNo in my mind. This is what I want.
I realized, I could have finished much earlier, had I just stayed focused and written on – but why would I? I know that once I hit the 50k, I no longer have the satisfaction of seeing that green progress bar move. When that little glass vial is filled with green serum (this is how I see the progress bar, leave me alone), I no longer feel that competitive need to carry on, and so, I lose the interest. It’s over. I’ve got nothing to chase, and so there is no point in staying focused.
Regardless, it’s not about chasing the word count – it’s about the mood. The setting and the season. I don’t want to finish on Day 5, because I’ve got traditions to keep up!
And still. This year has been very different.
I haven’t written from dusk till dawn, I haven’t had more than a couple of cans of energy drinks and three donuts so far. I haven’t finished any of my three pringles cans. There is no playlist – at least not beyond two or three songs, but most of this novel has been written in silence.
Everything is different. I thought this year would be more nervous and stressful than anything else, and instead, I found freedom in these 8 days, like I probably knew I would. Because writing is what keeps me sane.
I think I needed this break from studying, even though I feel like every day I don’t study while the exams draw closer, I am wasting time.
And yet I’m not. I haven’t been this calm in over a month.
This is what I’m supposed to be doing. This is what November is all about.
So be it then, that the story so far is awful.