Another November gone. For those of you who, like me, participated and WON in the National Novel Writing Month, I bet you’re all going through the Post NaNoWriMo Blues.
Yes, the heroic deed is done… 50,000 words in 30 days. From about 60,000 participants, 9,765 won. When I reached the finish line, I opened a bottle of champagne and started bothering people on the phone. After all the bragging I had done for months, this was a necessary act.
The thing is, after all those overly caffeinated, crazy days of extreme imaginative performance, surrounded by mountains of laundry (Mom, I don’t have clean socks left!), frozen dinners (Oh, no, not Chinese pizza again!), and bewildered expressions from family and friends (Look at you—when did you last wash your hair?), I now share the same energy level as a zombie. My depleted mind can’t come up with any more words. In fact, writing this column is like excavating a Sumerian artefact in tough terrain somewhere in the Middle East.
Now I’m faced with the tough job of editing my masterpiece, but that will have to wait till after Christmas. I’d much rather spend money and shop for the holidays than dive into my novel’s dangerous murky waters, which even have an army of violin-headed creatures… (yes, the soldiers have violins instead of heads—and no, I wasn’t exposed to too many Dali paintings during my childhood). Will I be able to sell my novel? Only time will tell. It’s interesting to mention that of all the thousands of winners which NaNoWriMo has had so far, less than ten have sold their books to big traditional publishers.
Of course, the main aim of this marathon is to push your writing mind to the extreme, to annihilate writer’s block and silly procrastinations, and ultimately to proof to yourself that you can do it.
I can’t say it was a smooth trip, and several times I thought my ship would sink to the bottom, but, as I already said, I had simply bragged to shamelessly to family and friends, so that kept me going.
Writing 1,667 words a day, the first and second weeks went well. The third week killed me. I had created too many characters, and they wanted to take control of the story without giving much thought to the plot or to the red herrings I had so generously put all over the first half of the book. Tragedy struck: I didn’t write for three days, and on the days I wrote, I didn’t reach the daily quota. This threw my ship off course. The waters turned wild and murderous. The fourth week showed up without an invitation. I panicked. If I wanted to make it, I would have to write almost 3,000 words a day. So I kept hearing these voices in my head… of my stuck-up cousin Harriet, for example: “Oh, you lost? I somehow expected it. It takes will and determination to write a whole book in one month, after all. Don’t worry, there’s always next November for this year’s losers. ” Okay, so I don’t have a cousin named Harriet. I just hate that name.
Would I recommend this crazed, overly caffeinated marathon? Definitely. Would I do it again? Suffice to say that I can’t wait until the next November.
Mayra Calvani is an author and book reviewer. Visit her website at http://www.mayracalvani.com .