Sunday, November 16, 2014

NaNoWriMo: Day 16

Quite frankly, I’m ready to be done with this NaNoWriMo business. I have 48,000 words, but so what? I spend from 20 minutes to two hours a day writing (the two-hour days are rare). The excitement of meeting the challenge doesn’t appeal to me at all anymore, but I know that without this push and the public exposure of this blog, I would have given up by now. If I’d given up, I wouldn’t have this crazy assemblage of thoughts and memories, which, potentially, contains all the ingredients needed for a book.

On the days I write for 20 minutes—a lick and a promise—I’m ready to give up. Maybe when I get to 50,000 words I’ll just stop, I think. But on those days when I take a little more time—not just writing a snatch but also scrolling through the pages, skim-reading bits, seeing that portions do hang together—on those days I’m pretty sure there’s a publishable book in here somewhere, many months (or years) from now. But I can only shape a book out of this stuff if I hang out in the manuscript, if I think on it and read through it and keep on pushing myself. If I put it aside for a week, two weeks, six months, the work will languish. I have so many drafts, so much of my mind recorded here and there in drafts on my hard drive. When I immerse myself enough in the manuscript, I know I must continue.

The second week of November, I started a big, wonderful, copyediting project that has immersed me in someone else’s manuscript. Four, five, six hours a day, I’m transported back seventy years. When I’m not editing, I’m pulling World War II titles off my bookshelves—even my “breaks” revolve around this editing project! Today is Sunday, and I’m forcing myself to rest from the editing for one day—but I’m eager to get back to the characters who even during the copyediting process are becoming so dear to me. 

It’s weird to move between the vast, well-structured World War II compilation I’m editing and my own snips and drafts, not even yet adequately stitched together. I’m frankly a lot more interested in the editing project than in my own writing. If I hadn’t made a public commitment to this cheater’s NaNoWriMo, I would gladly tuck my own work away for a few weeks. Which would stretch into months. I know myself. Daily I choose to honor the potential in my writing. I choose to have a tiny bit of faith that slow and steady will take me to the finish line, that some of these pages deserve a home in a book, that slow deliberate plodding will bear more fruit than manic hypergraphia.

So, however reluctantly, I will keep on writing.

No comments:

Post a Comment