So, NaNoWriMo is underway! I have tossed my hat into the ring once more. To write 50,000 words in a month isn’t difficult. I actually signed up for a challenge called Get Your Words Out and managed to meet my 150,000 goal within four months due to roleplaying with a friend.
Some people have already met their 50,000 word goal, and I congratulate them for having a story that felt so alive and real that they couldn’t stop typing. Most people haven’t — like me — and that’s cool. I have participated in this challenge for almost a decade under various circumstances. I was in high school and then university, and now I’m out in the real world. My availability, and even my poor energy, has changed with each year.
Right now, I’m coming off a low of not really writing much at all. I roleplay with friends, but it’s not the same as writing a coherent story for myself. For one, the creativity and the method you approach it is different. And you also have a great writer to bounce off of, which makes it all the more enjoyable. But writing an original piece, like I’ve chosen to for Nano, is different for me. It requires more thought and a hell of a lot of self-esteem, which I, unfortunately, lack right now.
I have learned a few things about myself over the years of doing this challenge. Sometimes I fail due to motivation and poor planning (time management, the planning of the story itself, etc.) and sometimes I win due to refusing to never give up and working hard on a story. I have never finished a story. I have never had a completed manuscript on my hard drive. And that’s okay. I have the main points of a story written out.
I’m very fond of using mythology, it seems. Two years ago, I wrote about the apocalypse, specifically the four horsemen — or horsewomen. Three years ago, it was werewolves. I’m pretty sure I wrote about witches the years prior to that. (I love me some witches, man. They’re awesome.) This year, I’m taking from the Greeks.
I had a plan. I was going to do my sea slug story, but it’s missing something. Instead, on November 1, in the great think box known as the shower, I thought to myself “The Garden of Hesperides. Hercules. Those Twelve Labours. Cerberus.” And then I had a very vague idea of my story.
Hercules’ Twelve Labours re-envisioned. Instead of a handsome and muscly hero who has muses singing of what a great man he is, the completer of the Labours would be a girl who is brazen and reckless, and who requires the assistance of her friends and some strangers, just like Hercules. I don’t know if any Titans holding the world on their shoulders will be recruited into this, but time will tell. I’m “pantsing” for the first time in a long while.
I still want to write about subverting the Chosen One trope. Maybe this story doesn’t even hit it. Maybe it enters its own trope that I haven’t read on the Tropes website. But I’ve found that the biggest challenge isn’t trying to figure out what I’m trying to write about in terms of a story or a genre or a character archetype I necessarily want to deconstruct. It’s very, very simple, in my opinion.
I haven’t written for myself in a very long time. That’s the challenge.
Write a story I want. Write a story I would like to read. And even if the first draft is crappy, that’s okay. I wrote. That is my challenge. To get myself to write and fall in love again. And to stop judging everything I do based on what someone else would like. The most important person is me.
I’m having a really enjoyable time sharing my progress on Twitter and Instagram. And, hell, I’m even getting into it like all the other inspirational writers by creating a Pinterest board for my story. I’ve never done this before. It’s already new for me, for someone who never shares this stuff since writing has always been super personal and private. I think that’s going to be my lesson this Nano.
This is the first year I’m doing this alone, without any support from a friend who is doing it alongside me. But it’s not so scary. I have the NaNoWriMo community on these social media sites. And it’s cool.
If you want to be buddies, feel free to add me on any of these social media — and NaNoWriMo — and I’ll add back.
Good luck to all my fellow Nanoers out there. I sure do hope to cross paths with you over the next month!