The Month Begins
It was November 1st and NaNoWriMo was well underway. I stayed up late the previous night to get a midnight start on the writing and wrote a few paragraphs whilst following my outline fairly closely. The writing was a bit slow and clunky and I hated the way I phrased a few of my sentences. I sat and deeply thought about what would sound better like I usually did. I kept doing that until I remembered what the contest was about and so I stopped editing myself so much and just ran with it leaving sentences I didn’t like behind…unless I really hated them. My notebook is a battleground of scratched out sentences.
I forsook all distractions the night before. I unplugged my Xbox 360 and logged out of all my social networking sites aside from email clients. My iPod was unplugged, drained of battery, and left in the corner of my table because I knew with it that I’d waste valuable writing time on the bus listening to music and staring out the window. I told my friends via Facebook and a few texts that I wouldn’t be around for the month of November because the contest. I had a plan and I wanted to stick to it for a few reasons. My first reason was because I’d never stuck to a plan, schedule, or routine and I really really wanted to break that cycle. I want to be a much more productive person and I saw this as a major step for that. My second reason is because I really really wanted to get some traction on this second book while the events of the first one were still in my head and the ideas were flowing. There was no better time to do it. So no distractions meant getting things done.
I left out of my house before the sun was even up, around 6:00am. I wrote a lot on the bus which helped me finish that first chapter which I felt a little better about because of how I ended it. I made it to work around 7-ish and continued writing. I wrote in the dark and empty café. I had my notebook out and was ready to start typing the first chapter up on NaNoWriMo.org. I browsed the site and learned that you didn’t type out anything on the site itself but instead posted your word count. You could take your own count or “validate” your novel early which counted the words for you and promised not to be a portal for novel theft. Eh, I trusted it. So anyway, armed with this new knowledge I opted to continue my early morning work visits so I would continue to treat this noveling business as legitimate business. I updated my word count and checked my phone to see if I could do it from there and to my surprise I could. What a thoughtful team of visionaries, these NaNo people.
I moved my show from the café and the distraction of WiFi to the signal deathtrap of the basement breakroom where it was hot and stuffy from all the machinery and steam pipes. I began working on my second chapter, writing it down in my notebook. More inspiration found me in the form of a visit from a cute older lady named Myra. She asked if I was doing homework and I told her about NaNoWriMo. She seemed pleasantly shocked and said what I was doing was cool. She herself likes to write and had been working on something off and on. I told her that she should just go for it and soon. If not for the month then just whenever. She said that she should, smiled, said that she didn’t want to be a bother, and walked off down the hall. I went back to writing and maybe 10 minutes later Kurt the pastor comes in and asks me what I’m working on and I tell him what I told Myra. He asks if he could read it when I’m done and I asked him if he had a Kindle or Kindle software so I could send him a free sample. He didn’t but he gave me his card and well wishes. That was pretty much how my conversation went with anyone who caught me writing for the next month.
So all in all I was off to a good start. I had an outline that stretched far ahead of me. I had a decent place to get my writing done, updating my word count was much easier than expected, and my book was rolling along at a decent though somewhat slow pace. With a start like that I had no clue that my challenges to come would have me questioning if I should even waste my time trying to finish the contest.