So, this is 2013.
When I was just starting undergrad, back in 2006, a girl told me that she was going to do the National Novel Writing Challenge – and I thought that was the coolest thing I’ve ever heard of. I decided to give it a try, since hey – I’d been writing for years! Surely fifty thousand words in a whole month couldn’t be that bad, right?
Who would have ever known…that in eight years, I’d be sitting where I am.
I won’t go through the entire story, since you can read it on my guest post on Denise Drespling’s blog here, but suffice it to say that the too long; didn’t read version is that NaNoWriMo would go on from there to change my life. So much of who I am today is based on the fact that I consider myself first and foremost…a writer. I happen to be many other things: an audiobook narrator, a cafe worker, a guitar player, a voice actor, a child to my parents, a friend, etc. But before all of that is the fact that I Am A Writer.
On my computer is a blue Post-it note, which I was told to write in a NaNo pep talk. It reads, simply: “I am a writer. I write books.”
And I do.
I don’t always write them quickly, and I may not write them well, but I do write them.
My first three NaNo attempts (well, two attempts and one success) will someday become my Xenia Angelus trilogy. They are plotted and schemed out in my mind. 2008 taught me I could do it – and in 2009 I wrote the first draft of the novel that will become my MFA manuscript. In 2010 I began plotting out a book that a then-friend of mine and I had imagined for years – and someday, I will give it the revamp it deserves and finish the work I began. 2011 saw the first attempt at fiction based off of a true event – and I’m still planning on fleshing that out and finishing it. 2012 gave me the beginning to a rewrite of a novel I wrote in high school.
This year, I have two projects. I am continuing on with my manuscript (grad school waits for no NaNo), and starting to finally draft out a book that started with a four-page assignment when I was sixteen.
At what is close to the end of my writing time today, between the two, I have written 7717 words. 3568 in one project, 4149 in the other. I took the day off to focus on my work as an ML – the Municipal Liaison, or regional coordinator, for the NY::Elsewhere region, which allows me to help out Wrimos all over the state of NY – and managed to sit down for a five-hour write-in with my fellow authors.
One of my authors (a rebel from Connecticut hanging out with us) is likely to reach ten thousand in his first day, due to my help.
I can’t even speak about how thrilled this makes me.
Because in the end, do I want everyone to win? Of course. I want to stand as the ML who led their ENTIRE REGION to success. I’d love to do that. Is it likely? No, not in the least. So what I want is to be the ML who can stand there and say “My entire region wrote this November.”
I want to be able to say that I helped. That each and every one of the Wrimos I touched got a chance to sit down and write. Even if they only wrote a hundred words a day. By the end of November, that’s three thousand words on a story that they didn’t have before. And I think that’s pretty damn awesome.
NaNoWriMo is one of my all-time favorite things in the world. It jazzes me up and makes me excited to be alive and a writer. If I can share even a sliver of that with everyone else, I’ll consider it a success.
The month has already had its excitements. I’ve gotten notification that something’s wrong with my grad school registration status. I was asked at the last minute to stand in for a fellow ML at their kickoff party. I’m helping arrange events for the region next to me because they don’t have an ML this year. All while I work my usual job, and try to have a social life. And you know, sleep. Eat.
Is my diet going to go to hell? Yes, probably. Will I gain weight? Almost assuredly. Is this the end of the world? Absolutely not.
This is November. This is NaNoWriMo. This is the happiest month of my entire year.
And when it’s all over, for my Thank God It’s Over party – I will have my birthday, with friends both new and old…and I will be happy.
And if that’s not what all of this is really about, then I don’t want to know where I went wrong.