Week 1 of NaNoWriMo concludes today, and while I musn’t take too much time away from my word-crunching, I must record some of my initial observations. Enjoy!
1. Word of the week: revealing.
I have discovered that NaNoWriMo is not about the novel; it’s about the writer. I approached my computer six days ago as a completely blank slate. I had a few pre-existing ideas rattling around in my head, but I abandoned them all in the spirit of adventure and experimentation and instead tapped into the mysterious source of all story. What has emerged in that process has revealed much to me, primarily about myself and where I truly am in my head, my feelings, and my path.
One small example: I would characterize my story so far as quirky, fantastical, and a little bit dangerous, and it’s something that I would never have anticipated coming out of my head. All of my aspiring life, the prospect of becoming a successful novelist has invoked images of sophistication and depth – What will my verse be? and all of that. The act of it, however, is much more of a romp than I expected. I hope that my work will have meaning and resonance, of course; no one that I know aspires to drivel. It’s just nice to realize that I don’t have to be morose all of the time in order to make it so.
2. Inner editor expunged
One of the mandates of NaNoWriMo in its purest form is that there be no editing: no revision, no second-guessing, not even spell check. The old golf rule to “play it as it lies” comes to mind. As a perfectionist, I thought this would be extremely difficult for me, and it certainly was on the first day. I freely confess compulsively going back and correcting a few typos here and there. The act of increasingly resisting this urge, however, has borne surprising fruit. It has become so liberating just to leave that stuff behind and keep moving forward. Correctness is out the window and the uninhibited flow of words is where it’s at.
I just know you were waiting for my grand metaphor of the day, so here it comes. Every typo that MS Word underlines in urgent red for me is a mistake left in the dust. Who cares? I blithely respond, dismissing it with a toss of my hair. That’s not important right now. I have a goal to meet today, people! Then off I go, continuing to blaze new territory in my creative universe. Obviously, this can’t work in all realms of life, and if I ever intend to do something with this project, I will have to go back and fix those mistakes. Yet for a girl who has historically been paralyzed by the need to hover around a mistake and analyze and over-fix it in the hope of unearthing forgiveness and absolution, or at least a little peace, this has been a wonderful exercise of boundless invention.
Okay, that’s it. I can’t in good conscience take any more time away from my novel-in-waiting. Perhaps Week 2 will have its own treasures for me to share, but for now, I must hit the word generator. Continued blessings on the other WriMos out there. Onward and upward, friends!