Against all the odds, I’ve just won my seventh NaNoWriMo. It feels so fucking good! What a slog this one was. There was zero prep: no plot, one guy with character notes, the voice of a female narrator, but nothing else. What it meant was two weeks of non-stop exploration: hearing voices in a darkened room, finding out who they belonged to and what they wanted, and trying to turn the lights on bit by bit to discover the world they inhabited. All fueled by a 40 song playlist I built on YouTube including Amy Winehouse, David Bowie, Danzig, Neil Young, Don Omar, Railroad Earth. Macklemore and Lady Gaga, among others. (Yeah, it was that kind of story.)
After this time together, I truly-deeply love Romie, Donnie and all their friends: Mom, Bert, Lucy, Preston Gowan, Lothar Tucker, Leon, Spider, DeShay Carter, Toni, Ronette, Audrey and Dad, Rosa Rivera and all the boys at the Juliet.
I’m going to take a few days to resume normal living with a side helping of gloating. Thanks to those who cheered me on.
In the end, I couldn’t help myself. I haven’t done National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo, or NaNo for short) since 2011, and with the memory of how difficult that one was (for no obvious reason) and how emotionally exhausting my work life was after that point, it was easy enough to just stay well enough out of it. And I don’t write as much as I used to. But every November I miss the excitement of it in a nostalgic way. This year one of my writer friends decided to do it, and it really made me think….
I did have notes for a character I wanted to use someday, but I never envisioned him as a protagonist, which meant I needed at least one other person. And there is no plot. So, stealthily, I began writing on November 1st, not much, but I began. I didn’t sign up though; my creative energy was very low, few ideas formed, and nothing was flowing, no spark. How could I a commitment I’d only fail at? I know myself well enough to see that a failure this year might keep me away forever. So I waited.
The days rolled by and I got a few words here and there, but I had no big ideas, no plot, characters just mindlessly going through motions….until yesterday. Yesterday, I started to make connections, understand something about my characters’ secrets and strong images began to form. So I signed up. Thousands and thousands of words behind, but I signed up. The working title is Beautiful Dreamer and seems to be about a naive girl with a ridiculous vision of her future and the troubled man she thinks can make it happen for her. Now I’ve got to make the story happen. I have the time, if not the energy, but I’m going for it. Wish me luck.