NaNo: What makes a win?

nano 2011Here I am at the end of Week Three, fallen behind, not at all where I want to be. Why?

I could say it’s the new job, which does take up a lot of valuable word count time for a slow writer like me, but that’s not true. It’s more than just that. Ditto for the job interview on Monday that means a hell of a lot to me; I can almost taste the shape of that job I want it so much.I could say it’s that the story is so old and has been sitting alone, abandoned and unloved for too long, or maybe that the scope is so dauntingly big, or maybe that it means far too much to me to get it wrong, and with the pace of NaNo, it’s almost impossible to get it right.I could say my Inner Critic is a cyborg that will not shut up, sleep or die, which is great as an editor, but sucks when I’m the one writing. (There’s a NaNo/HP writer out there who’s probably glad I’m getting a wicked dose of my own medicine. But I always do this to myself, whether you know that or not.)

I could give it up as a bad job and get back to the task of enjoying my life. In fact, that’s what I’ve said I would do, yet still (secretly), I keep at it. I type, calculate and re-calculate the odds, the daily word counts and wonder how in the world I can make a win of it all.

But maybe the truth is that it’s a win for no other reason that because I breathed life back into a dream I never should have let go. It’s not too late, no matter my age or my health or my professional prospects. Maybe that’s enough. I hope so because it’s probably all I’m going to get out of this NaNo.

Well, that and 120 pages closer to making a real book, a living thing in this heavy air that till now had only been alive in fragile brain cells that one day will wink out without a trace. So this is that trace: ugly, beautiful, flawed, perfect, inconsolable, incredibly brave against reckless odds. Sounds like a win to me.

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