My writing past is patchwork at best. We all have our journeys, and mine is perhaps not that uncommon, but it felt like a revelation to me at the time.
As a child, I loved to write. I loved to create. Making up stories was a pastime, and as an only child, it was a necessity. I lost myself in reading and I wanted nothing more than to help others lose themselves in their writing. It was generally dismissed as a silly diversion by teachers, and uncool by my friends (see my previous posts to know that I’ve mostly let go of worrying about looking cool), and that’s where it ended. In a fizzle.
When I was in college, studying something unsatisfying, I heard about NaNoWriMo for the first time. That’s National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated, and is a month-long challenge to write 50,000 words in November. (Didn’t know? Don’t worry – I’ve been doing it for three years and my mother still doesn’t know what I’m talking about.) I thought that it sounded cool, but I was way too busy, and besides, I wasn’t a writer. What would I write about?
The writing bug teased me a bit when I heard about “that NaNo thing” again in 2011. I toyed with the idea and started six days into November with no plot, just a character. It took me places, but not farther than a few thousand words. It died out there. Another fizzle.
Finally, November 2, 2012, I ran across the term NaNoWriMo a third time. I browsed through the forums at NaNoWriMo.org. I found a plot someone was “giving away” that I thought I could do something with, and I took off running. I wrote almost every day, and by the end of November, I had over 50,000 very messy words. They were a mess, but they were mine. And with that, my love for writing was rekindled. I was on fire.
NaNo is coming up again and I’m already preparing. For the first time, not only do I have a concrete idea of what I want to write about, but I’m fully planned out. I’ve got characters, a setting, a story arc, I know what terrible things await my characters (oh, the pain they will suffer… haha), and I know where it is supposed to end. (I say “supposed to” because my characters always teach me things I didn’t know before, and I’m never certain if they’re going to do what I tell them to do.) Now all that’s left to do is put the book on “paper,” and I’ve never been more excited for NaNo!