This month is National Novel Writing Month, or “NaNoWriMo,” in which aspiring writers support one another through forums to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Many folks I know are rising to this challenge, seeking to jumpstart that novel, to coax it into the light of day. I wish them infinite creativity and inspiration.
It’s tough being creative on demand and I greatly admire all who are taking this challenge, as well as my journalist friends who produce quality works consistently while meeting deadlines. About twenty years ago I wrote a 10,000 word paper on pressure washing and pig farming to complete my MBA. After that stretch of the imagination, my creative writing and professional life parted ways. Writing became an escape from juggling work and raising kids. If blogging had existed back then, I would have embraced it. Instead, I wrote a sci-fi fantasy novel. After ten years, I had over 600,000 words, a detailed outline, and no clear path to wrapping it up. I set it aside after attending a camp reunion, which eventually became a multifaceted tale of true events; Memory Lake. (Please note, early versions had over 180,00 words. The end product has about 136,000 and 436 pages.) I have now gone back to these 600,000 words to try to make them work. They stretch before me like a very long wall covered in sloppy plaster. Inch by inch, I am smoothing the plaster, picking away unwanted clumps, adding new, sanding the seams, and blending a seamless surface. This will take longer than a month. But, that’s okay, because the satisfaction from one inch of smooth quality is worth it.
While smoothing, I’m thinking of my NaNoWriMo friends. They too will face a pile of rough words. I want to say, don’t lose heart, hang in there, because this is when the real fun begins. It’s when your characters turn around and start talking to you. It’s when the real writing begins.