In Writing

Things to know about NaNoWriMo: it stands for National Novel Writing Month and every year over 300,000 people participate in it. The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month (average YA novel is 60,000 words). Someone decided that a month punctuated by tryptophan comas is the best month to attempt a pretty difficult intellectual feat. Okay. Most writers are at least part masochist so this makes warped sense.

Things to know about me and NaNoWriMo: I am conflicted about it. I hate doing things in packs but I am also pretty competitive. And, dammit, I have like 5 novels I want to finish yesterday. So I’ve reluctantly jumped in.

Tonight I lugged myself to my bastion of book happiness – Barnes and Noble – to do some writing. The title of this piece is misleading: NaNo’s Day 2 was my Day 1 because eff doing what everyone else is doing. I’ll do what everyone else is doing on MY terms. Which is to start a day late. Go, rebel me.

In my defense, I didn’t start on Saturday because I bought myself and the kids the most phenomenal dry-aged steak ever and I ate myself into a food coma. Oh, and there was a nap before then. I may have also finished a marathon of Once Upon a Time and chatting with the gaggle of teen girls that slept over my house. Then my son wanted to watch Alien. Okay, yeah, I was procrastinating. It was delightful, if empty, as procrastinating so often is.

When I finally wrestled a lumpy old lady for a table at the B&N Cafe on Sunday, I wasted a good half hour Googling important things like, “Typewriter trinket box.” (I fancy that i will buy myself writerly jewelry and put it all in a writerly trinket box). Finally, seeing the irony in avoiding actual writing by trying to obtain the trappings of writerliness, I opened the document.

The most terrifying part of all.

Here was the surprising part: I opened a different document than I thought I was going to work on. Book #4 instead of Book # 3.

Book #4 is further along at 30,000 words, but is tougher to write. It took a little extra courage to go back to it. It’s a deeply personal look at what happens when you fall in love with a secretive and emotionally unavailable man (my specialty), and the pain we cause ourselves by putting up with BS we should never put up with. About being afraid to ask for what we want in a relationship. Believe me, I’ve done extensive research on the subject.

It’s also got subplots galore: a viral YouTube video, a girl who goes on Good Morning America, a deported Mexican dad and commentary on the foster care system. I absolutely love this project, but I put it down a year ago because the “heartbreaking relationship” parts were just too hard and raw to write. But here I am again. Yay, NaNo.

I hit my word count in about an hour, then skipped around reading older chapters. I still love it. With only about 30,000 words to go until I finish, it’s actually a modest goal by NaNo standards. The plan is that if I hit my number early I’ll then move back to novel # 3, the one about the teen discipline camp, bringing me closer to 50,000 for the month. We’ll see.

I won’t promise to post NaNo tallies every day because every word I write here is actually one word less I write on the novel. But I’ll keep you posted frequently.

Wish me luck.

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