Wednesday, November 13, 2013
WriMo in Progress - Day 13
It's been an exciting month so far, but this year's NaNoWriMo experience has finally begun to settle into some semblance of normalcy, if one could call nearly 300,000 participants across the globe endeavoring to write 50,000 words by month's end "normal". I've done most of my writing at a blistering pace during group writing sprints on Twitter, composing as much as 1,945 words in a single half-hour run. In this way I've managed to top 30,000 words without difficulty. It's been so easy, in fact, that it almost doesn't feel right. I know, by this point and without question, that I could reach the 50,000 word goal by week's end if I wanted—I could've already reached it, if I'd just kept sprinting—and therein lies the biggest problem for me during this year's WriMo: without the fear of failure, the constant and anxious pressure to add to the word count, I've grown a touch lazy. Without the worry, is it really NaNoWriMo?
Don't get me wrong--I'm still having an unbelievably good time. It's so easy to forget how enjoyable writing can be, when one falls out of the habit. And for it to have been going so well, I can't really compare it to any previous experience. NaNoWriMo '11 was won by the skin of my teeth, after a three-day blur that I still can't recall properly. That was tremendous fun, if exhausting, but despite the success of making goal I can't say I felt as confident in my novel or writing ability as I do now. That anxiety made the experience, though—it's what everyone goes on about year after year, the desperation, the struggle. To borrow from a pop cultural entity whom I refuse to name, it's about the climb. With The Third Face of Janus, it's less of a climb and more like Superman zipping straight to the top, faster than a speeding bullet. It's exhilarating, but it's just not the same.
Obnoxious whining aside, I do feel particularly good about this novel. I've enough notes and source material to exceed the 50,000 word goal well before month's end, and continue on to at least 200,000 words before the story's been told. I honestly have no idea how long the first draft will be, but imagine I'll wind up culling half the words, if not more, before I have a workable second draft. The tone of the novel is beginning to resonate soundly, and I'm starting to see in this effort more than a writing exercise. There really is a novel here, or at least there will be eventually. That's not a bad feeling, and I'm sure I'll more than make up for the lack of WriMo pressure when it comes time to find beta readers in preparation for someday querying agents.
So what if I don't have the same experience as I did during my first run? Maybe I'm just chasing the dragon, so to speak. Maybe that first time can only be had once, like so many things in life. Maybe every year's different. Maybe this year I'll actually continue until the novel's finished. And maybe someday, I'll have more than a victory t-shirt to my credit. I have a habit of beginning each year claiming "This is gonna be my year!", and for the past 5 years, it's held more or less true. Maybe this novel is the start of something bigger, and it's time instead to declare "This is gonna be my decade." Time will tell, best to not get ahead of myself. But, for the moment at least, I feel really good about this novel. Maybe that can be enough, for now.