I didn’t win this year. Even though I am slightly crushed, I think I am ok with this.
My intentions were good. I planned for several weeks before–my plot, my characters. I started on midnight November 1st and went about writing MY novel. And it worked at first. Despite my work schedule, motherly duties, the general business of running my household I set aside time for my endeavor. Words flew from my fingers. I was killing it.
I wrote with wild abandon up to the second week, and then something happened.
I began to lose steam. Entering word counts, following schedules, typing X amount of words per day. It began to feel more like a chore than an enjoyable experience. So I stopped recording the word count and stressing about the looming date of November 30.
I am still writing. My novel isn’t dead. But it won’t be finished within the span of 30 days. While I applaud NaNoWriMo’s efforts in just getting people’s off their asses and writing, their 30 day window cannot contain me.
My novel will be finished when I need to finish it. It may or may not have 50,000 words, but it’s cool. It may not make sense either, but that’s ok too. I am writing, and that’s what’s important.
With my announcement that I’ll be participating in this year’s National Novel Writing Month, I have a bit of a confession to make first. First, I am not writing a novel. Well, at least not in its purest, most traditional sense. What I will be writing is a group of interconnected short stories, with a central theme and group of characters throughout. As I began the planning for this project I realized early on that it wasn’t coming together as a novel. I also realized that as much as I loved my main character that I did not want to stick with her for the entire book.
My decision to tell a novel in short stories is fueled by my fascination with the human experience in general. The people you meet everyday all have a back story, a set of events that occurred that led them to encounter you at the particular place and time that you encountered them. How do human personalities develop? Surely our past shapes our experiences, but how? I want to tell the stories behind the people that my main character interacts with. As I begin this venture I am reminded of one of my favorite authors, Gloria Naylor, who also used this same technique in her novel, “The Women of Brewster Place.” It is indeed a novel, but if you look carefully at the subheading, Naylor calls her book “A Novel in Seven Stories.” Each of her seven main characters has a story to tell.
So, at midnight, I’ll begin writing. I have a ton of notes, a kick ass Spotify playlist, and plenty of coffee on hand to keep me company. I am sooooo ready to put pen to paper and slay this!