Long November

It’s true. November is the longest month of the year.

I apologize for the lack of posts here. With the book blog, NaNoWriMo and real life, my hands are full. Everyday is just me, reading, working and writing, even if I absolutely do not feel like writing. I labeled 2007 as the hardest year in my NaNoWriMo history, but I feel that this year is the worst so far.

Oh well. No pain, no gain, I guess?

I’m still fighting for this novel. So while I do, I thought I’d share this pep talk I sent last week — probably the most honest one I’ve ever sent.

My Novel Sucks – a pep talk from Tina (tinamats)

I knew as a kid that I wanted to be a writer, ever since I “met” Elizabeth Wakefield in Sweet Valley Kids. She was my first writing inspiration, and I am pretty sure she was the one that made me start writing stories even if I never read any of her stuff. I was all set to take up Journalism in college, but I got sidetracked when I was introduced to the wonderful world of HTML and web, so I took the geeky path and graduated college with a degree in Computer Science.

I did not abandon writing in college, though. I joined our school’s literary folio, but quit two terms later because I couldn’t do the residency and I always felt out of place among them. I wrote a few short stories, but I took my own sweet time writing them, except of course when they were semi-autobiographical — with that, it was almost like word vomit. For other attempts at literary work, I totally sucked.
Earlier today, I managed to reach 20k words in my novel. I forced myself to write, write, write and close other things that would make me slack off until I reach that magic land of 20,000 words before Monday came. Then I made a mistake at taking a break and reading some excerpts of the other Wrimos here posted on their profiles. Then I came to a sad realization.

My story sucks.

This entire attempt at writing a retelling of a fantasy story sucks. Really and truly sucks.

And because I chose to stick to the story, that I chose to stick to writing this, it just follows that I also suck.

Depressing, yes?

Here’s a confession: all these years I have been a Municipal Liaison for the region, I have always felt that I was one of the worst writers in the region. No joke. I like writing, yes, but I feel that I lack the formal training, the vocabulary and sometimes even the imagination to be a real writer. Sometimes, during chats and write-ins, I feel lost about the things people talk about. I have to double check the dictionary to understand some words that I feel I should have known before given my reading habits but it never stuck. Sometimes I feel like my novels can never compare to what you guys write. I feel like I’m the most boring person in the world, using the same words over and over again with long sentences and sometimes a bad grasp at grammar. Sometimes, I feel like my words do not carry enough weight, that it’s not exciting and no one will ever look at whatever I wrote, except for friends who get bored and ask me for things to read that are my own.

Yeah, I suck.

You would think that with these insecurities, I would have stopped attempting to write a novel years ago. I would have stepped down from being an ML and just use my time to focus on other things like work, reading and other things that I would not suck on. But here I am, on my seventh year of NaNoWriMo, seeing little improvement in what I write and how I write it. I must be crazy, or at least, very masochistic.

That, my friends, is the beauty of National Novel Writing Month: we all have permission to suck.

At work, my boss often ask me to proofread things for him, and they often ask me to write copies for some of the marketing materials we do. I’m known for being the writer who can give a human side to anything very technical, and I have even written a photo write up that made the photo win a prize. They think I am a good writer.

When I see my novel, however, I don’t see it.

But you know what? That’s okay. Because that’s what this entire month is really all about. NaNoWriMo is about unleashing that story that has been bottled up inside of you for the longest time. It’s about wrestling with a blank piece of paper, writing even if you have no idea where to start or what happens next. It’s about locking up that internal editor that tells you to go back and edit, to delete things because that does not make sense. It’s about bugging your characters, begging them even, to act accordingly and still giving in when they start acting another way. NaNoWriMo is about complaining and wailing with other fellow Wrimos about how hard it is to write, and how difficult it is to reach a word count that seems impossible to reach especially if you have been slacking off.
It’s about making mistakes (huge ones, even), but still writing anyway.

It’s about writing and sucking, but still writing anyway.

It’s about forcing yourself to write even if you don’t want to, because you know somewhere, somehow, your story will make sense and no matter how much you suck at writing or no matter how much your story sucks, there is something beautiful hidden underneath it all.

But first, you have to write it down. No matter how sucky it all is.

I’m pretty sure my novel sucks and it will probably never see the light of day after November, but I will keep writing anyway. I will keep writing despite the number of distractions that come my way and I will keep writing even if everything inside of me is screaming, “ABANDON IT! IT’S NOT WORTH IT!!!!”
You want to know why?

Because the last time I tried to read the six NaNoWriMo novels I have hidden in my hard drive, I realize one thing about them all:

They didn’t suck as much as I thought they did. :)

Okay back to writing. I will conquer this. By God’s grace, I will.

3 thoughts on “Long November”

  1. There’s always chick lit / fantasy fusion. Who knows; you may become the world’s pioneering CLF fusion writer. Helen Fielding was able to transform Jane Austen’s stories for the modern world; you could do the same with your fantasy novel.

    I think you’re awesome when allowed to work in the field that you know best, and you were just unprepared this year for the change in genre. Whatever the reason for your difficulties this year, it’s good that you’re carrying the right attitude towards it and that you persevere in spite of it all.

    Good luck with that.

  2. That’s great pep talk. And seriously, NNWM participation is good investment. Later in life, you’ll just have to edit all your material and then you’re good to publish. I mean, I can’t stress enough how rewarding it feels to have stuff just there, written. One day you will look back smile at all your words (which I think you already did haha).

  3. Pingback: Looking Back

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