Another year has passed, and it is once again time to start planning for NaNoWriMo.
There is a crisp chill in the air here on the North Shore. Rather than autumn feeling like a time of waning I am invigorated by the change of season. I want to be outside in the swirling burnt-leaf tinged air, low sun warming my cheeks.
If you participate in NaNoWriMo, this time of year may also bring a slight tremble to your hand and gentle prodding of your brain. Then the pleading begins “Please, let me think of something to write before November 1st!”
Sedate bees float by seemingly lost in the decaying garden. The low cruising geese honk in unison as they materialize over the tree top startling the dog. I cast about for a plot, a scenario, a tidbit of inspiration.
It is a romantic notion, the muse is. I don’t imagine an unseen entity sprinkling writing dust full of ideas over my head. To me it is work, the enjoyable welcome work of having to think and notice and feel and consider and contemplate. The blank page doesn’t frighten me…apparently finishing does.
This is my 7th year of NaNoWriMo. Another WIP to add to the growing file of unfinished work. I think a few of them are good. Good enough to finish and put out in the world. Why I haven’t is hard to articulate.
It would be easy to blame the usual writer laments, fear of failure, fear of success, imposter syndrome, all are valid. Yet, I don’t feel any ownership of them. Which leaves me still wondering, why haven’t I finished? Do I lack the ambition to self-publish?
I thought of not participating this year, or not starting something new. Giving myself the ultimatum “No new novels until you complete one.” But, the process of coming up with a story, imagining what’s next, developing the characters, and words flowing by the hundreds, is the part I like best. I need this part.
I will finish something. It’s getting too embarrassing not to. I was ashamed to admit to someone last week that I have spent the last seven years writing yet having nothing to show for it.
As I watched my friend Satin hand her book over to a buyer, I had my deep pang of jealousy that caught me off-guard. I wanted that. I wanted to be able to say, “Hey, I have a copy of my book in the car, I’ll just run our there and get it for you.”
I’m also tremendously proud of her. She’s well on her way to her second novel’s finish line. And having had the honor of being an early reader, I know how hard she’s worked to make this one better than the first. Writing only improves with practice, a practice that needs to include finishing and moving on to the next work. She’s my inspiration.
I’m not sure what I’m writing this year but I know as soon as the month is over, I’ll be setting it aside to finish my previous work. No more hoping I’ll be finished by some imaginary date. May 1st is my deadline to hand over The Illusion of Marriage to my beta readers. I’m trusting you all to hold me to it.