Friday, December 2, 2011

A Victory of Sorts

First let me confess that I’ll be posting ahead for a few days due to those computer problems. If my entire system collapses, at least my blog can go on temporarily without me.

So, the month of November is over, which means that National Novel Writing Month has ended. I just wanted to look back on it to see if there are any lasting impressions.

After 30 days, which included 2 complete rewrites, a full day dedicated to closet cleaning, a holiday, a half day of watching talking-dog videos on youtube, hundreds of hours of television, short bursts of sewing, 11 migraines, and 43 haiku, I did finally managed to get slightly past the 50,000 word minimum.

It surprised me a bit that I had so much trouble forcing the words out, since in the past I’ve had trouble stopping them. I’ve always been excessively verbose in my writing. In writing classes I was always the one having to pare down the 17 pages I wrote for a ten-page assignment. The first novel I wrote started out around 121,000 words and I finally got it down to about 95,000 after months of editing. I usually just have so much to say that I can’t stop.

In this case, I’m afraid I didn’t really have much to say. I had the idea of the story rolling around for a few years, but as I mentioned a few days ago, it was really only a short-story-like glimpse into a person’s life. I tried to help it along by adding a lot of backstory, an additional character, and just generally embellishing everything, but it’s still as flat and lifeless as one of my uninspired collages.

The good part is that since I’ve got it all out of my head, this particular character should go away now and stop taking up space in my head. Maybe someone new and much more interesting will move in! We’ll see. I have a good start if I ever want to make it into a short story, so I don’t feel that my time was entirely wasted. Plus I’ve documented much of my writing excitement-waning-into-disillusionment here on the blog, so if I ever get tempted to do something this silly again, I can remind myself why it didn’t work out.

On the global level, the end of NaNoWriMo is actually very exciting. While I seem to be genetically predisposed to a lack of enthusiasm about my own accomplishment, the fact that approximately 2.9 billion words were written by something like 270,000 people in one month is beyond impressive; it gives me a lot of hope. Literacy is clearly not dead yet, and books (in whatever form: paper, digital, as yet unimagined) will be with us for some time. It is an encouraging sign that that many millions of individuals around the globe felt strongly enough about their own vision, their own message, or their own story, to temporarily turn their lives upside down and tell it.

Well, that’s that. Next, resolving the computer problem is an unavoidable priority. Sewing’s up after that, and holiday preparations. I still haven’t mailed those cards out!

Hope to be back in blogland with you all soon,

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