Friday, November 22, 2013

On NaNoWriMo

The word dream to me has two meanings; one is some sort of wishful thinking, and the other is what happens when you are asleep.  Dreaming when you are asleep I find fascinating, and it always seems that my dreams see straight into my soul and pick out my deepest desires.  But anyway, dreams that are wishful thinking I find sort of weak.  If there is something that you dream of, wish about, yearn for, you should take it to the next level, and make it a goal.

I have a goal, as you might have guessed.  My goal is to be a writer.  

When I renamed this blog earlier this year "Books In Her Head" it sort of had a double meaning.  While yes, books that I read tend to stay in my head as I contemplate them, I feel like this title also represents the fact that I have all of these ideas and stories in my head too, or in other words, future books in my head. 

My goal to be a writer has been something I've thought about since elementary school, but I have never taken it as seriously as this year.  My first step in taking that seriously was to pledge myself to NaNoWriMo, or to those of you that are unfamiliar, National Novel Writing Month.  The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write an entire novel in a month, 50,000 words for the adult one, and 30,000 words for the Young Writers Program.  

I was excited, nervous, and distracted with school in the weeks following up to November, and when that first day hit, I had not decided what to write about.  I quickly chose an idea from my head and sort of ran with it for the first two weeks.  

This past Monday I was working on my novel, and I just sort of got to this point where I realized that I absolutely hated where the story was going.  I didn't like who my characters were becoming.  Most importantly, I had this enormous gap of space between where I was at and how the story needed to end.  

Some people might criticize me for not planning, but I disagree.  In my previous experiences, the only stories that I ever finnish are ones that I only half lay out in my head, and run with the rest of the way.  When I try and plan out stories I get too caught up in little unimportant details and never get anything done.  

Regardless of why I got to that point, there I was, half way through with a novel that was not what I wanted it to be.  The first step was taking ownership of the fact that I was unhappy with my writing.  After that, everything came a little bit easier.  I consulted with a writing mentor of mine and was able to pinpoint a clearer theme and purpose for the plot.  I also laid out the bare bones for my characters, so that I at least had something solid to shoot of from.   

The hard part though, was looking at my novel, starting from the beginning, and revising.  It was painful to be on day 22/30 and have to re-write all my previous words.  However, while I'm not quite done with this part, I have confidence that I will get back on track and will finish on time on November 30th.  

The lesson I learned today was not that I need to plan more, not that I need to be completely confident with all the ideas I start to write about, but that it is okay to make mistakes.  I'm glad that I stopped writing the novel that I was writing, because it was very, very bad.  Now I can change it, and make it into something that I'm proud of, not something I want to hide in a drawer and never think about again.

In the words of Samuel Beckett,



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