From the time that I was eight years old and won the Young Authors writing competition for my grade, I have wanted to be an author. I’ve had stories brewing in my head for years, but I’ve never managed to get more than a chapter on paper. In college I took a short story class and I wrote some of those, but I’ve never gotten anywhere even remotely close to writing a novel.
So, this year, I decided to take the plunge and do NaNoWriMo, and let me tell you it has been terrifying. I have always suffered from a lack of confidence (in certain areas), and so the idea of writing a book is about the most daunting thing ever in the universe to me. I’ve always been frozen by the idea that it might not be good enough. That the idea wasn’t strong enough, that the characters aren’t going to end up being the right type of people, that I will be able to write a beginning and an end … but all that stuff in between? …
I have a total ADHD personality, and finishing things is not my forte – at least not unless I have a looming deadline and someone expecting results (It’s not like I’m leaving my editing jobs half done!). So, I actually think that NaNoWriMo is the very best thing for me, though, because I just have to keep writing. I’m forcing myself not to obsess over whether that one word I used is perfect or every sentence makes grammatical sense, or even whether or not I actually know what’s going to happen next. I just need to write (and then I’ll obsess over all that stuff later in the editing process). I certainly won’t have a full book when my 50,000 words are over, but I’m hoping that if I meet this goal, I’ll be able to keep myself motivated enough for the next one.
The book that I’m writing has evolved over the years from a fantastical adventure game that my neighborhood friends and I used to play as a kid – where we were aliens with special powers who had one year to save the world. There were six or so of us (sometimes more) that played almost every day – usually in my neighbor’s backyard, where we would climb his willow tree and use the swingset as a fort and and avoid “attacks” from his giant St. Bernard. I had super-eyesight, which didn’t seem quite cool enough, so eventually, I manipulated the game so that I could see the future (I was usually the one who would come up with the plots for our little adventure games – this was actually just one of many, and not even the most elaborate). When I was a teenager (or maybe a pre-teen), I decided that our adventures needed to be turned into a book, and so I wrote one. I honestly don’t remember if I finished it – either way, it wasn’t very long or elaborate, but the idea always stuck. I needed to get it on paper. (Of course, the idea has morphed A LOT over the years, but it’s still based on that original childhood game).
Anyway, the book now involves a fantasy world where technology is forbidden and a group of teens with special abilities (tied to the elements) who are prophesied to save the world from a dangerous technology that has been developed in secret. The story is told from the POVs of two of the girls – Lislia, who has “my” enhanced eyesight, and Kalindra, who has telekenetic powers and also happens to be deaf. Okay, so that’s not the most compelling synopsis, but this is the first time that I’ve even attempted to put down on paper (or computer, I suppose) what the book is about. Once again, that lack of confidence kicks in here – I start to panic that I can’t possibly explain the book in a way that makes sense and sounds interesting … and maybe the powers are an overused idea … and maybe the whole concept just isn’t right … and … oh, you get the idea. Yeah, that’s why I haven’t written it yet.
But I am writing it. Now.
I’m 10,572 words in, and I’m not going to stop until I hit 50,000 words. And then I’m still not going to stop. And after I write that final chapter, I’m going to edit it and make it into the book I know it can be. I’m going to keep writing, even when I’m worried that it’s not turning out the way I wanted it to, even when I’m terrified that it will never be good enough for anyone to actually read. Because in the end, I need to do this for me, even if it turns out that it’s only for me.
Anyone else out there participating in NaNoWriMo? How’s it going for you? Are you as freaked out as I am, or is this a breeze for you? What’s your book about? I want to know!
Oh, and if you’re participating, make me a buddy! I’d love to follow along with your progress and commiserate with you! My username is nmhewitt.