Nov 012009
 

When I first heard about National Novel Writing Month, I thought that I could never do. When I read about it last month, I thought, hmmmm… When I came across other people talking about it online, I thought this is just what I need to get my novel written. I don’t have someone to organize me like I did for Lifeliner, but I still have need of that kind of help. What better than a planet full of people all writing at the same time, all talking about it, all creating external motivation and excitement, to get me going. But it seemed so far away when I signed up, a whole month.

Suddenly, it was an hour away. While others practically counted down the minutes till it was 12:00:01 am November 1st, the time permitted to start writing, so that they could start, I was nodding off. The excitement infected me, but I needed sleep badly. Sundays I normally spend off-computer and always the same way. I didn’t want to disturb my routine, until after Stargate: Atlantis for sure. I have my priorities you know. But that excitement remained. I chomped at the bit when I knew I couldn’t write.

And then the time came. I turned on my computer to see what NaNoWriMo had to say. The pep talk was in the mail queue, they said. My stomach felt a little fluttery. I surfed over to Twitter to see what people were tweeting about #nanowrimo and which hashtag was most in use. I shuffled through papers. I poured some water. The butterflies grew in my stomach. I dithered about which word processor program to use: my old standby WordPerfect or the new OpenOffice I’d just downloaded onto my Windows system. I dithered whether to work in Linux or Windows. The butterflies became knots. I yelled at self to plant those fingers on the bloody keyboard and get going already. I dragged self over to computer and sat. I took out my iPod Touch, set the timer to 1 hour precisely, pressed Start and at the same time, started typing away like crazy.

The last time I did serious narrative writing, unlike blogging, which is less onerous for me, I wrote 2,000 words max. That was for Lifeliner. I also wrote for a maximum time of 45 minutes. I hadn’t tried 1 hour before for this kind of writing. The last time I wrote seriously was the April poetry challenge, and I’m unable to write long poems (I lose the big picture, the ability to keep hold of an idea from beginning to end when the work gets too long). The sestina challenge on day 28 almost floored me because of its length. But I did it. And I reminded myself of that and of the fact that as long as I put fingers to keys, the words will come. Plus if I didn’t get started, I’d fail before I even began the competition, and then what would happen to my novel.

And so I began. (Man, I never thought I would!) My goal of a 2,000-word chapter became in reality a 2,748-word chapter. I began at the end so that I’d know where I’m going from here-on-in. Good thing too because I learnt a couple of things about one of the characters as I was typing. When the timer squawked, I checked the word count. Whoa! OpenOffice must be exaggerating, I thought. But nope, it was way up there. I’m so pumped!

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