I began the month by writing myself a note:
Dear Future Susan,
Welcome back to the party. It’s barely 7AM on Friday, November 1st, 2013. You were out Trick or Treating last night, and slept VERY well (with Noah, he wanted to snuggle). The kids have the day off from school, Luke is watching Sports Center (really loudly, I might add), Noah is playing Minecraft on your phone in your bed, and Bekah is still asleep. You are in your basement office.
Your hair is a mess, and you have just now (cheers, by the way), celebrated the beginning of Nanowrimo 2013 with your first sip of coffee (light, hazelnut creamer). You are in your pajamas.
You are about to unleash Sukie Abrams and Bess Stanhope.
These two women have been haunting you for about a year.
They brought friends who are lining up behind them waiting to share their stories with you. You might want to stock up on coffee and liquor. Just saying.
Sukie and Bess have been very patient while you did other things this past year, but they want OUT. NOW.
Take another sip of coffee and make it so.
Be kind to yourself, trust the process…and maybe comb your hair.
Ps: Noah is going to come downstairs just as you type your first word and ask where Brian hid the Halloween candy. Brian won’t tell you because Noah cussed at him. You will coin the phrase, “spawn of an asshole.” Not directed at anyone in particular, it just made you laugh. Use that one someplace.
For 19 days I stole time to sequester myself from the family in my office. Several beverages (11 cups of coffee, 10 hot tea, 8 ice water, 3 iced tea, 2 hot toddies, and 2 hard ciders) later…I saw this:
I love the image of someone alone with their thoughts, able to give in to the voices in her head , getting up to pace and ponder… but the fact is that I stole the time from other things, the kids talked to me sometimes while I typed or they sat on the sofa next to me and read. I missed a few writing days organizing notes and recording another podcast with Beckett…and have yet to do my part in getting the shownotes ready for that episode’s release.
I didn’t watch any TV except one episode of Once Upon a Time and one of Glee and only because they are shows I watch with a kid- even if the kid who is supposed to be watching the former with me really does it so he can steal my phone, snuggle me on the coach and play Minecraft. Family tradition always trumps voices in my head.
I had other work to do, food to get on the table, daily chores that needed to be done- life went on as normal and I stole the time I could to cross the finishline.
The part of the fine print of Nano that I doubt most who undertake it the first year realize: 50,000 words is not a novel. Women’s fiction, which I’ve been writing, is at least 70K (for a Chick Lit) and up to the 90K range. When I posted the victorious achievement Rocky music on my facebook page the story that I am writing was only 3/4 finished. And 3/4 of a rough draft at that. Like most every rough draft that I write, it was slapped down very quickly. I don’t even know what’s really in there.
Yes, many Nanos have gone on to be published…most have not. But this doesn’t diminish the achievement for anyone. The completion of the act was the goal, working that to a readable condition is a whole other race for another time.
I can prattle on about what just sitting my fanny in a chair and writing towards that 50K line has done for me personally, but I won’t. I’ve done that before- but I will say this: This is my 4th Nano. Each year has personally been as different as the stories I wrote.
Last year, 2012, over 340,000 people participated in Nanowrimo, just over 38,000 finished. That is 38,000 different stories, 38,000 different people with 38,000 different reasons for participating.
And this year I add my fourth story, my 4th reason and my 4th set of challenges to my own personal tale.