This past November, I boldly took on the challenge of writing my own novel. I did not preface this journey with any sort of preparation or forethought, only the desire to one day publish a novel. I was driven with the knowledge that if I didn't just stop saying I'd write one and just write one, that I'd never actually do it. A sentiment I still wholeheartedly believe in.
So I bravely (*cough* foolishly *cough*) signed up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), an event held each November in which aspiring writers take on the goal of completing 50,000 words in one month.
To say it was difficult would be a complete and total understatement.
It was, without a doubt, one of the toughest things I've ever done.
It was also one of the most rewarding experiences of my entire life.
There were times when it was painful, trudging through a broken landscape of charred words and lazily-assembled characters. Watching the grammatical mistakes fly through your fingers without stopping to change it, because doing so would set you back that many more seconds. Every second counted, and the pressure mounted with every day that you passed up on a chance to write.
Reading it would have been akin to squirting lemon juice straight into those corneas.
And yet, as ugly as it is, I still love it like my tiny, deformed child with a speech impediment. It came from my mind, heart and soul. It's a part of me unlike any physical limb or spiritual state of mind.
Admittedly, I have yet to pick it up or edit since I finished it. I'm not lazy, but I think taking that much out of myself and putting it in another place took a toll on me. Gonna take some time to relive that story line, but I dearly look forward to doing so. The sense of accomplishment after having written a (short) novel was unlike anything I'd ever experienced.
We humans are quite notorious for creating things. Succeeding at bettering each other each and every day. Making something easier or building something taller. Making someone smile or putting food on the table after a hard day's work. Human history is riddled with successes big and small, and I gotta say, when I met that 50,000 word count limit, I felt like I was Rocky on the top steps of the goddamn world. I wouldn't trade it for anything. So for any future writers out there, I offer these words of advice:
1) Stop dreaming. Do it.
2) Write a check to an organization, association or individual you greatly despise to be mailed out to said organization, association or individual if you do not meet your deadline.
3) Oh yeah, have a deadline! Motivation, motivation, motivation!
4) Write like the crashing waves in an ocean swell. Do not look back, only look forward. Type first, edit later. Every second counts, and the more you look back, the quicker you'll lose sight of the future.
5) Do NOT skip a day. Who gives a flying f*** if you're sleepy? Soldiers you're age are out there putting their lives on the line every single day to give you the right to have electricity, not have a curfew, and write opinions about whatever the hell you want. And you're too sleepy to better yourself and feel accomplished? Boo freaking hoo. What were we talking about again?