Every November, a group of writers get together for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. The goal is to write a novel (50,000 words) in 30 days. I participated in 2010, and “won” by completing my novel. It sucked. Royally. I was dealing with the aftermath of a relationship that was incredibly damaging to me, and I used my time with NaNo to work out a lot of those feelings. My novel had a loose plot, but in reality, it was more of a daily diary entry than a real novel. Still, it was a good exercise, and it felt good to do it.
I swore that I would never do it again. By the end of it, I hated writing. Even the act of opening my laptop filled me with dread. To “win”, you have to write about 1,667 words a day…every single day. For those of you who aren’t used to writing, that’s a lot of words! And since I was working full time as a writer/editor for the federal government at the time…it seemed like all I did was write.
So this year, a dear friend asked me to join her in Nano, for mutual support and encouragement. I hesitated, because I’m doing a lot of writing for my new fantasy and science-fiction website, Exterminis, and wasn’t sure I wanted another commitment. In the end, I figured “what the hell” and went for it.
I began Nano this year with no story, no plot, no outline…nothing. I didn’t even have a vague idea of the kind of story I wanted to write, much less any formal prep work. I had no idea what was going to come out of my fingers as I began to type.
As I write this blog post, I just finished day 2 of Nano. And what I have found is that this story is coming from deep inside of me. I’m a huge Jungian fanboy, if not scholar, and I really feel like this story is coming from my Anima, the inner feminine part of my psyche in Jungian terms. It’s almost as if she has taken over my conscious mind, and is dictating the story to me. I really like it so far, even if it’s not like anything I’ve written before. There’s no supernatural element to it (at least not yet), and it seems like it might be a love story in the making. I don’t really know, because it’s not really coming from me. I’ll be just as surprised as the readers will be when the twists and turns come.
Tonight, I was nearly overwhelmed by the desire to publish this rough draft as it is written. To my conscious mind, this sounds like one of the more idiotic ideas I’ve ever had…and have had some very idiotic ideas in my life! However, my Anima (yep…gonna blame this whole thing on her) is insistent on it, and so I’m gonna go with it.
To ease the fears that arise out of my conscious mind, I’m telling myself (and you) that this is a good exercise in facing rejection, in exposing my weaknesses, in facing the fear of public ridicule and exposure, and in confronting my “naked in public” shame. I’m also telling myself that it will encourage other people to write, because they’ll see just how bad rough drafts can be, and then they won’t be afraid to start. See, self? I’m helping others, while facing some fears. It’s all good.
The Story can be read here. I’ll update these pages every day in November.