What have I gotten myself into?

These are the wrong words, at the wrong time, at the wrong place. I should be writing fiction, not blogging. But somehow, I think they need to be written, before the next four days escape and the thoughts and feelings are lost forever.

Two days ago, I crossed the 30,000 word mark for NaNoWriMo. That’s twice what I ended with last year. I could stop now and feel like a winner just for that.

But oh no. This is the final stretch. In a recent pep talk e-mail, Gayle Brandeis compared the whole novel-writing process to childbirth. And though I can’t speak from experience there, I’m pretty sure she was right on. Here in the last week, she says, “Now you’re not just pregnant—you’re in labor.”… and yeah, at this point it’s pretty painful. I’d say this is the part where sometimes I feel like I can’t go on and I’d just rather just sit down and read something written by somebody that’s not me… but at the same time, I know I’ve been carrying this thing around for a month and can’t go back.

A lot of people have asked me how it’s going (most likely thanks to my compulsive Twittering of the experience), and for that I’m really grateful. It’s a bit strange sometimes, explaining that it’s not really for any purpose other than a challenge to myself, and no, I can’t tell you what it’s about, because I’m still figuring that out myself. (Imagine that! I’m halfway through, and I couldn’t even begin to explain it, because it’s more like an abstract alphabet soup that I’m stirring around to see what happens.) So far, everyone has been really kind, supportive, and even genuinely interested in the mystery of novel-writing. Sometimes I think that’s what keeps me going. (Too bad nobody will get to read it for a while. >:))

All I know is it started with a few nameless characters I barely knew, a dim sci-fi(ish) vision, a couple of ragged chunks of something resembling a plot, and a scary looming mountain of a deadline. The process has been exhilarating in some parts, exhausting in others… and honestly, annoying when I come home from work too tired to write and thinking of a million other things I’d rather do.

But when you cave in, let it go, sit down to write… unplug from the world and let your imagination and keyboard have free reign for a while, you never know what might happen. Suddenly these random puppets take on life and start saying and doing things you didn’t see coming, start wandering around and bumping into each other and telling their stories. You’re just swept up, tagging along for the ride and taking notes.

Well, that’s how I see it.

And I’m pretty sure that sounds weird and delusional… but once you’ve tried to put a story on paper and experienced it, it makes a lot more sense. Whether you consider yourself a writer or not, I seriously recommend trying this… putting a story to paper in a desperately short amount of time. If not during November, maybe during a random month of the year when you have some free time to burn and a story to tell.

So, all that rambling to say… I’ve got four days and 20,000 words to wrap up this tale. Thanks to a glorious little invention called Write or Die, I can bang out a little over 2,000 words an hour. I can do the math… that’s 10 hours!

10 hours. Of non-stop writing to push this little baby novel out into the world. And then, it will take time to let it grow and make it presentable… well, time and lots of TLC with a red pen. (Hence, why nobody but me will read it for a really long time.)

Again I ask… what have I gotten myself into?

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