I loved words. I love to sing them
and speak them and even now,
I must admit, I have fallen
into the joy of writing them.
12:01 am this morning marked the end of NaNoWriMo this year. If you’ve visited the site this month, you’ll know that my life has been consumed with participating in the event. While I was eager to see how I would do within the strictures of NaNoWriMo itself, I was using this challenge as a measure to see how ready I was to begin writing, to cast aside all of my fears and doubts, to actually do something, to pursue something inside me that I’ve long wanted to pursue. For (literally) decades, I’d listened to my inner demons and to people I had the ignorance to associate myself with and let them tell me how bad my ideas were, how I would never succeed at this. I was too foolish or cowardly to challenge their opinions and forgot for many years this was something I wanted.. needed.. to do.
Last year, my wife challenged me to participate in NaNoWriMo. Still bogged down in all of the crap I’d let rule my life over the last several years, I never tried. This year, I did. I looked at it less as an impossible dream that I’d never succeed at and more as a goal that was worthwhile, even if I failed at it. Not everything in life is binary. There’s not a clear ‘win’ or a definite ‘lose’. The man who tries to run the marathon, but finishes it dead last, three hours after his competitors, is not a loser. He may not have won the trophy or the accolades, but sometimes winning is in the attempting, not just in the excelling. This contest was for me a means to see if I could write, if I could take my dreams and my ideas and put them into some form of coherent narrative. I might fail to reach fifty-thousand words, but if I found my voice, then I would have still succeeded in some measure. So, how did I do? (don’t peek at that thing down there!)
I finished the first fifty-thousand words of my novel on Sunday last week. I have continued to write, having slowed slightly this week to breath, but still reaching nearly 54,000 words as of last night. I’m proud I accomplished this goal. It’s not easy, even if it felt easy for me at the time. I had a story in mind, a grand epic spinning around my skull and thus writing it was far easier. Yet, this is a significant accomplishment. That being said (1) I’d have been pleased if I’d only managed to write half of that, because it would have still been thousands of more words towards my aspirations than I’d ever written before, and (2) fifty thousand words is a paltry amount in relation to that aspirations. I’ve already realized those words I wrote last month are a drop in the bucket, barely constituting the first third of my novel and a mere fraction of the complete story I am hoping to write. No, not hoping. ‘Hoping’ is for last month. Planning is for the new me.
Does this make me a writer? I suppose in the strictest sense, yes. I am writing so therefore I am a writer. But I’m not an author yet. I have many more hurdles left to clear, ones far more difficult than writing fifty thousand words. To keep writing, to hone my craft and to create something people will not only enjoy reading but yearn to read more of: that is my real test. NaNoWriMo has shown me that I can do it, whatever it might be. I have faith, I believe. I can do it now.
So, let me introduce you to my new friend:
There it is, my newborn novel. Bursting with promise and beautiful /ugly as only a baby can be: covered with gunk, yet crying at the top of its lungs that it is born and it will grow into something special. I have a lot of work to do on it and a lot of decisions to make on what to do with it when I’m finished. Do I seek a publisher or self-publish? I clearly need a cover redesign, but that will suffice for now. The main thing is that there’s still so much to do and this is not over yet.
As with any new baby, I’m going to be spending a lot more time with it. My blog will change accordingly. I’ll still write about geeky bits and tech bits, but you’re going to see a lot more writer bits too. It falls under that dreamer bit, as I’m sure you can guess. I’m also going to be posting on a more regular schedule, details to follow. You’ll most likely see less massive posts as well, since my main expenditure of words will be spent on my novel. I’m sure no one will mind not facing a wall-o-text on a regular basis. So, that’s coming up for me and you as well.
Before I close this post though, I do have one last thing to say, the most important thing for me to say:
Thank you Jennifer. Without you, this would not have been possible, in more ways than one. You inspire me, challenge me, support me. You suffered through hours of my bubbling excited ranting and helped me to better guide both my energies and my narrative direction. You gave me leave to run to my computer and write, giving me the freedom to do this where others might have jealously and bitterly held me back. You are without a doubt the love of my life and my inspiration. Everything I have done this month and will continue to do is dedicated to you. You are my muse.
To close this post and in honor of my wife, I’d like to quote a song that I’ve recently discovered but that really speaks to what Jennifer means to me…
Dismay or enslave you, it will set you free
Be more like the man you were made to be
There is a design, an alignment, a cry
Of my heart to see,
The beauty of love as it was made to be.
Sigh No More – Mumford Brothers