A big, crazy writing adventure!

July 30, 2011 § 2 Comments

Nanowrimo. For those of you who don’t know what it is, it is a crazy adventure to write 50,000 words in a month. It takes place every November and has been going on for 12 years! Yes, I said 12 years!

I’ve only participated for 3 of those years. Near the end October 2007 I first discovered the Nanowrimo website. I was 13 years of age with no real idea about novel-writing. At that time I had difficulty finishing all of those short stories I had bravely ventured into. Nevertheless, I decided “Why not?”, clicked the sign up button and there I was, ready to write my first novel. For the remaining month of October I waited impatiently, wanting November to arrive as quickly as possible. Of course, it never occurred that what I should have been doing was putting together a concept for the novel. Oh, I had an idea alright. Quite a preposterous idea. Looking back, I wonder how I ever thought I could pull it off.

At the start of November 2007, I told myself that I was going to “wing it”. And wing it I did… for all of two days. 2,000 words and my 13-year-old mind was frustrated at the mess of a “novel” I had in my word document. The characters weren’t right, the plot was in shambles, and I was already falling behind on my word count! Not eager to persevere, I’m ashamed to say, I gave up.

For the rest of the year I did wonder where I went wrong. Was I really a writer if I had given up so easily? I didn’t have an answer of course. I knew I wanted to be a writer – I had wanted that for as long as I could remember. But it registered in my mind that I needed more than mere desire to be a writer.

My doubts in myself only made me more determined to write 50,000 words for Nanowrimo 2008. This time, I had ideas, characters, a plot, even a title! But most of all what I had a determination that I had very surely lacked the previous year, and a deeper and more mature understanding of the craft of writing. I set out on my writing adventure on the early morning of November 1st. I typed up pages and pages, realizing that what I wrote was so far from perfect and that I honestly didn’t mind. It didn’t have to be. I reached 50,000 words with 5 days of November to spare. I remember feeling accomplished despite how annoyed I felt at the fact that my novel was a big, huge mess. I never finished that novel, not because I didn’t want to but because my mind jumped ahead of me, planning out new, crazy writing adventures.

I still ordered a free proof copy (thanks to createspace and the nanowrimo team!) of my unfinished mess. I was still proud of it. I had accomplished something that I had such a difficult time getting my head around only a year ago. I had improved, both as a writer and a person. I passed around the proof copy to some people, sometimes willingly and sometimes quite willingly. The response was always very positive though. My friends encouraged me to show more people, to write another novel, to refine this one. They were much more supportive and encouraging than I ever could have hoped them to be. Sometimes I even wondered what was wrong with them to actually enjoy a novel that was so imperfect and messy.

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I read back over that novel sometimes and… it is a mess. I know it. It is very, very wrong. At the same time it’s very young and innocent, because I guess that’s what I was when I wrote it (not to say I’m not now…). It has a certain charm. I definitely want to go back to it sometime soon. I want to re-read it, re-write it and edit, edit, edit until I am happy. But I’m a little afraid to as well because as silly as it might be, it still has a charm that I don’t think I’ll be able to capture again. Still, I realize that despite all its imperfections, that mess of a first draft that is saved on my computer and tucked away in the back of my book shelf is a canvas. Some day it will be something that I will shove into people’s faces. Will I seem highly arrogant? Certainly! But will I be happy doing it? Definitely!

Well, that was my first nanowrimo experience and it certainly taught me a thing or two. Of course in 2009 I took on this writing challenge once more. This time it was a little more difficult to reach my goal because I felt like my writing was a bit more refined. I still scraped 50,000 words before the last day of November and earned another unedited proof copy for my collection. 2010, unfortunately, was a missed opportunity due to the looming presence of my exams.

This brings us to the reason why I am writing this (really really long) blog post. From this year the nanowrimo group have decided to start camp nano. What is this camp nano, you ask? Well, it is the same as nanowrimo, except it’s during the summer!

Naturally, this August (that’s 2 days away!) I’m attempting this crazy nanowrimo thing again. I have a plot, characters (but no title yet! oh dear!) and a blank word file that is ready to be filled up. I may be looking at 50,000 words of utter crap at the end of August but hey, that’s my 50,000 words of utter crap and nobody else’s!

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