Hello, my inklings. The infamous, oft-dreaded Week Two of NaNoWriMo is well underway. We started out shouting huzzahs and halloooos, hiking to the rhythm of songs bellowed at the tops of our voices. We raced laughing and shouting into the murk of frantic noveling, and it has already been a march to remember.
And though we cannot always see the path before us, and though the songs are starting to fade to snatches of tune hummed nervously to the light of flickering torches, we’re catching enough glimpses of our surroundings to assure us we’re still on the right track.
For me, one of these glimpses has been a realization of just how much I need this.
Two years ago, for NaNoWriMo 2008, I started a novel entitled Colors of Deception. I wrote my requisite 50k for November, then spent December ’08 through March ’09 finishing the first draft of the story. After that, I laid it aside and let it stew in its own juices for about six weeks. This let me gear up for working on Drafts 2 and 3 over the course of the summer.
During that summer of ’09, I also started work on a new book with the working (and unoriginal) title Deren’s Story. Deren’s tale is set in my Triad fantasy world, which I’ve mentioned before and of which Aaron has sung praises. (Lots of singing going on in this post. Hmmm…)
I loved the concept of Deren’s story, I love the setting, and I loved Deren. I got about six chapters in and lost every shred of interest.
A few months later, NaNoWriMo 2009 rolled around, and I plunged in with Shadows After Midnight, the sequel to Colors. I wrote my requisite 50k for November, then spent December ’09 through March ’10 finishing the first draft of the story. After that, I laid it aside and let it stew in its own juices for about six weeks. This let me gear up for working on Drafts 2 and 3 over the course of this past summer.
In June of this summer, I also started work on a new book with the working title Tapped Out. This light-hearted, boy-meets-girl high fantasy tale was meant to give my mind, heart, and soul a rest from the darker themes I’d been dealing with in Colors and Shadows.
I loved the concept of Tapped Out, I love the setting, and I loved Sif, the boy wizard MC. I got about six chapters in and lost every shred of interest.
So there’s the illuminating truth I’ve glimpsed through the murk of Week Two: I require NaNoWriMo to jumpstart me. This month-long exercise, this feat which I’m performing alongside fellow writers world-wide, is what I need to catapult me into a new story. Without NaNoWriMo, I’m nearly incapable of doing the drudge-work of the first draft.
Because I hate the first draft. I loathe the first draft. I wish the first draft would go crawl in a corner somewhere and die. The first draft is hard to write and hard to love. Left to my own devices, I can’t let go of my need to make it pretty, to fix it. The problem is, if I spend time agonizing over how bad it is, I’ll never ever get it finished.
NaNoWriMo doesn’t allow me the luxury of self-pity. It doesn’t allow me the self-indulgence of fixing. It makes me sit my butt in the chair and do my lemon-torting job, as my NaNo 2010 main character would say.
And since I’m actually doing my job, I’m having a terrifically glorious time. So I’m gonna go do that now. Y’all have a nice night. 🙂