Also known as: My NaNoWriMo 2012 experience
True story: I almost gave up on NaNoWriMo this year.
2012 is my 9th NaNoWriMo year, but I was not in the mood. At all. I don’t know why, really, except that I have been fighting NaNoWriMo burn out since 2009. I’ve been trying and trying again in hopes of finding that spark again, but every time the month of November ends since then, I just wanted to get it all over with and forget everything that I have written.
So this year, I only joined for the sake of joining, and because I am one of the Municipal Liaisons for the region and we already had plans for the year. It was too late for me to not do it, and I also wanted to guide our new ML since it’s his first time. But if you ask me to be honest, I admit that my heart was not in it. Not this year.
In the past years, NaNoWriMo took first priority when November rolled around. This year, I had to pay attention to other things, especially since a big work project came and it required most of my attention during the day. Then there were other new responsibilities, like community and the book club and well…everything else in life just took place first. Like I said, my heart wasn’t in writing my novel anymore, so I kind of slacked off. And I felt bad.
I started writing a novel in blog format entitled Decaf Nation, which was supposed to be my 2011 project but I scrapped. I thought this year should be easier since it’s a blog and it should be easier to update…but again, when your heart is not in it, it’s really just hard to get writing. I lost steam by the first week, and stopped writing. That was embarrassing, because the novel is posted in public, and I knew people were reading it. (I’m sorry, guys) I hate leaving things, but I could not make myself write another word because I was partly annoyed at my main character. :/
Somewhere around mid November, I read some of my old NaNoWriMo posts and I marveled at how I was so excited for things. I can’t pull them from anywhere within me anymore and I realized my burn out might be worse than I thought. I felt bad especially since I am one of the Municipal Liaisons, and I should set an example, and I have two co-MLs, too. I told myself that I would try harder again, but I have a feeling I would lose anyway, so I won’t try that hard. I will just probably let things be, and see what happens.
And then. I opened my 2011 novel.
And I got inspired.
Mid-November, and I started from zero again, thinking, If I get to 3,500 words today, I will jump ship. I reached it, and started the mad dash to get to 50k in 15 days.
Crazy, right? I think NaNoWriMo brings the crazy out in me, really, because I really wrote like mad. I wrote the second part of my 2011 story, pulling from college experiences and random conversations just to get to 50k. It’s crazy and exhilarating, and I was always thrilled when my word count started moving up, up, and up. I loved it when I found a way to connect two stories and suddenly boost my word count. I hated it when I kept on rewriting scenes but loved it when finally got a breakthrough that my character finally agreed on. I despaired over scenes that were boring to write, but had to, and I enjoyed rewriting scenes from different perspectives just to get the feel of the characters (and to get more words in).
I did the exact same thing last year, abandon the same novel for the other, and it’s funny how it’s happened twice. When I finally hit 40k words, I wanted to cry — I can’t believe how close I was to the finish line, with so much time to spare.
For every NaNoWriMo victory I’ve had since 2009, I keep on saying it’s been the most challenging year, the sweetest victory and all that, but nothing beats the feeling when I crossed 50k in 2012. I didn’t think it was possible, but hey, look. It is. The story is far from finished, and I really don’t think I would ever let anyone read this because it’s such crap, but there was one important thing I discovered in this experience: I missed writing.
I don’t know if writing missed me back, and by writing, I meant fiction writing, not just blog writing. I missed writing stories, I missed finding the words to tell the story. I missed the creative rush and the possibilities of characters, stories and all that. This year’s experience did not really cure my burn out, I think, but it reminded me of that fact that I really find joy when I write. I know I’m not the best writer around, but making words come together to tell a story gives me this thrill that I get when I read a good book. The good shivers. It reminded me of how much I love words, and that somehow, I was made for this.
I’m going to take this chance to thank everyone who egged me on, who bribed me, who encouraged me and wished me well this November. Thank you to everyone who believed in me, who never doubted and those who even wanted to read what I write even if it’s really not fit for public consumption. Thank you to all those who read bits of Decaf Nation and awaited for the next posts, and again I’m sorry for abandoning it.1 Thank you to my co-MLs for picking up on my slack, for all the Pinoywrimos who never fail to inspire me. Thank you, because despite my struggles in November, you guys reminded me of why I liked it so much. I don’t think my burn out is cured just yet, but I think it’s the start.
NaNoWriMo 2012 is not my best, but it’s an interesting one for sure. :)
Will I join again next year? My answer right now is leaning towards No, but it’s not set in stone. Who knows, maybe I suddenly get the biggest inspiration and I jump in again. But right now, I’m going to rest, and really find ways to get rid of this burn out. Right now, I’m just happy. Let’s see what 2013 brings. I want to do something brave next year, something to do with the numerous unfinished novels I have in my hard drive. Maybe, maybe. :)
One thing is for sure though: I am going to start writing again. :)
- For now. I will get back to it, promise. [↩]