“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”
― Anne Lamott, Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life
When my son told me he was going to attempt to write 50,000 words in one month a little over a year ago, I thought it was an interesting idea. He told me about something called NaNoWriMo short for National Novel Writing Month. It seems hundreds-no- thousands of people would be joining him in this undertaking during the month of November. As the month progressed he began to show signs of stress and concern. He starting to doubt his ability to reach the 50,000 word count. I thought he was being a bit of a wimp. I mean it was only 50,000 words.
I was disappointed when I found it was too late to get involved, but decided to join some local writers during the year and get ready. My son did complete his word count by the end of the month. He decided not to attempt it again this year. He said that last year “almost killed him.” He is continuing to edit and put his novel out to alpha and beta readers. He has even let me read a few paragraphs. It’s really pretty good.
As the deadline approached this year I signed up and waited for November 1, 2011 to begin. Now I had never considered writing fiction let alone a novel. I had the opportunity to take a class about writing fiction that ended the week before NaNo started . I have always admired authors who can do the “autobiographical novel.” Maybe I should take a chance and see if I could follow that course.
When I started the fiction writing class I had a story line in mind, but as the class progressed I didn’t feel connected to the story or most of the characters. One character did intrigue me and I knew she had a story to tell. So I began on Nov. 1 to write my 50,000 words. I thought I might finish in the first two weeks and just keep going. Damn..why not shoot for 75,000? After only one week of writing I thought I might be in trouble. 50,000 words is a lot harder that it seems. But I kept writing and writing and writing. I hit 50,000 with only one day left.
I put the story aside after that. I needed a break. Christmas shopping and family get togethers took all my spare time in December. A couple of weeks ago, I pulled out the novel I had started. I really don’t remember writing all of that. Did I really do that? I kept reading and I love some of it. I also see a lot of work that needs to be done. I have some other projects that also need a lot of work. But at least I am writing.
I only dreamed of writing for many years. Fear and years of being told I was “stupid” kept me from trying. My friend Jan kept encouraging me to write. She believed in me but more importantly she taught me to believe in myself. I love writing. I know I have something to say. I have decided to do Camp NaNo this summer. It will mean a commitment to writing 50,000 words in a month again. June.the perfect time to find those quiet spots on the beach that tourist haven’t found and write. I can’t wait to see what happens.