When October rolls around, most people are thinking about fall break and cooler weather and Halloween and am I really going to dress up this year?
Me, I’m thinking about NaNo.
For those of you unfamiliar, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place every November when people come together online and pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. http://nanowrimo.org/ It’s an amazing way to motivate yourself, to forget about perfection and concentrate on telling a story.
It’s also completely insane. I know, I’ve done it the last few years.
But here’s the REALLY INSANE PART:
If I do it again this year, I’ll be writing the same story I wrote during NaNo last year.
How can that be?
How can I have written 7 drafts (yes, SEVEN) of a novel over the course of 10 months and only just discovered that I goofed and must rewrite—completely—from the beginning?
The literal answer (for those who want to avoid the same mistake) is that I was trying to structure a story with two POVs. I somehow ended up making the story about one person, but I gave all the stakes to the other person.
There’s also a figurative, more philosophical answer: Writing is a journey and no matter how far down the path you go, there are new lessons to be learned (and new mistakes to be made.)
So, back to the original dilemma: Do I NaNo or not? I know what I should say.
Heck yeah, I want to do NaNo!
I should face this challenge head on and take 30 days to write a killer new draft and overcome this setback and then I should climb a set of stairs somewhere and pump my fists in time to the Rocky music.
(I’m feeling very dramatic about all this, if you haven’t figured that out.)
Unfortunately, I just don’t want to. I’m tired. I’m mad at myself. I’m frustrated. I’m broken-hearted over the lost time. I just want to watch old episodes of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and not think about anything. I want to sit on the couch and feel sorry for myself and enjoy it.
Ever feel like this before? (Because it sucks.)
And, in fact, this is what I’ve been doing for the past couple weeks until the other day when I was watching one of these episodes of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and Coach Taylor, the coolest high school football coach ever, tells these two guys,
“You get one chance in life. You can either take it,
or you spend the rest of your life regretting it.”
Really? Did he have to go there?
Now I feel like Coach Taylor is talking to me. I feel like this is a chance and I should take it. (Next time I’m going to watch reruns of something WITHOUT a message.)
So, I’m looking at the calendar. It’s October. And I can’t wait for my kids to be home for fall break and I think this year I will dress up for Halloween and yes, I think I will NaNo. I’m still not sure I want to, but I think I need to. Because the hardest part of any difficult job is to START. I have a story to tell and I think it might be a really great story and the only way I’ll know is if I get it down on paper.
So that’s where I am and what I’m thinking. What about you? Is there a story living inside of you? Is NaNo the trigger you need to get started? Or is there something else that will motivate you?
If so, I highly recommend Friday Night Lights.