So nearly two weeks out, here are some further thoughts on life post NaNo as they have come to me. Which is to say these revelations have not stopped coming since I shut down my computer on the 30th and accepted the fact that I was not going to get another word out in the month of April.
The first is that you don’t know how fast you’re going until you stop. Remember those god-awful gym classes and running around in circles until you wanted to die? I apologize if you’ve been repressing these memories, but there it is. Because there were also those rare times when you hit the sweet spot just right where your body and the motion were in sync and the momentum alone carried you.
Until of course, you stopped and then felt the all crushing defeat of a body in rebellion.
That is where I am at writing wise. After a month of giving my all my brain is fighting back with a vengeance. Nothing is firing right and all the belts have snapped off so things are spinning up in there with no purpose. I see the blank page and it matches my head perfectly.
And it’s not just mental, physically I’m wiped too. All those hours hunched over my laptop at Starbucks, or curled up in bed trying to write on my stomach has taken a toll. Pretty much everything involving my shoulders or my back aches, which is only worsened by my job which uses only upper torso movements to accomplish it.
The second kick is that the feeling of accomplishment isn’t as obvious or powerful as you might think, at least at first. I won a great victory last month by beating my former best by several thousand words, I have every right to be as proud as Peter Pan and crow it all to the hills. But it wasn’t there.
Granted, it might have something to do with the fact that I missed my larger goal by a simple 3,000 words, which I could have easily beaten if I had not been so lax in my last few days. The dissappointment may have overshawdowed the more important achievement.
Which brings me to the third point. A great antidote to the lack of personal pride is to create a stronger visual of what you have accomplished. For example, a 27,000 word document on the computer means nothing when you can’t hold it or feel the weight of it.
But if you were to have that document printed out professionally on heavy paper, and then grab hold of said document to see and feel just how much work you’ve put in. Those nagging inner voices have no counter argument. You are officially a writer now, through and through.
And the best part of that is the fourth point, other people see you as a writer now too. I have shown this thing in all its monsterous glory to nearly everyone in my path. Pretty much every jaw has dropped and a sense of respect and awe has been tossed in my direction since I’ve had the physical version with me.
So when your own inner voices are silenced, and the people around you start treating you like some writing goddess while lining up to get the first autographs from you. It becomes impossible to think of yourself as anything less than a real true blue writer.
But I have found I am not out of the woods yet. Upon taking a peek at the last few scenes I wrote in the frenzy of my last NaNoing hours I found I wanted to trash the entire thing. This will not help matters if I start deleting huge chunks of my very hard won words, and will actually leave me no better than I was at the start of the year.
This last thought actually was pre installed in my brain from No Plot? No Problem! as this is obviously a common issue to Wrimo’s worldwide. And also something I’ve learned in re reading some former novel attempts from many years passed. Let the damn thing rest!
Right now I have too much emotion wrapped up in this thing to be a proper judge of what is good enough for the final cut. And given the fact that I wrote this in a matter of weeks with the deliberate choice to pad my word count with over wordyness, it is not going to be a masterpiece fresh out of the gate. It’s my newborn baby still covered in slime and blood.
So I will carry on, adding scenes here and there over the next few months and try my best to finish to story with ‘The End” before I go back to what I have in my binder today. Or hell, I could even let it stew in a drawer while I finish the myriad of other projects that are bouncing like rubber balls up in my attic.
But one thing has become clear, above all of this. I will finish this book, and I will publish it. For once in my life, there is no stopping me now.