I adore the beginnings of an adventure, whether it be the moment that plane takes off and you get that odd jolt in your stomach, or that first step when you are ready to jump from a diving board, or even the first few pages of a crisp new book providing you with promises of what will await your future. Oh yes, my friends, much like the first few months of a new relationship, there are the nervous jitters, the steady stream of pleasant surprises and new experiences that these endeavors will unveil to you. I love beginnings. There is nothing like the enthusiasm of a fresh start, a promise unmarred by past experiences, a tale whose ending is still deeply shrouded in mystery. As much as I love the comfort of the known, there is nothing as invigorating as the first step of a new adventure. It makes you feel alive.
Today was yet another beginning for me, one that I have been selfishly anticipating for the past year. My favorite writing challenge has commenced, Nanowrimo is back! I raise my mug of tea and send a ‘cheers’ out to all of my fellow participants; may we be the Sam to one another’s Frodo, the Sherlock to our Watsons, the Tock to each other’s Milo (okay, that was a Phantom Tollbooth reference that I suspect only a few of you may have understood). This is an adventure that we may walk together, though the battles are fought individually. It is the people, the support of those who follow this trail with us that make Nano what it truly is. I can take any month of the year and pledge to write 50,000 words, but it is the community that keeps me going this month, that gets me excited enough to do a midnight happy dance. So to all of you- thank you for joining, you make this whole adventure what it is. I hope this month goes as beautifully as you planned, and if any wrenches find their way into your work, well, I hope they lead you down some daring paths that will make your words all the richer for their struggle.
The beginning is always the hardest, we work so painstakingly at what we do that taking the first step can be daunting, and yet, much like riding a bike, it is that first push you need to get the wheels going that will be the most difficult. It’s a lot of pressure, trying to figure out the best way to introduce the ideas you’ve been carrying inside, percolating in your mind- how ever will you be able to do it justice with only a few sentences at your disposal to hook the unsuspecting reader? And yet, here we are anyway, already a day in and slowly finding our way through the challenges that we must face head on.
I was fortunate this year and managed to get a few days off from work, which gave me the rare opportunity to stay up late and jump straight into a midnight start. I am ashamed to admit that I almost didn’t make it, 11:00 became a bit touch and go for me thanks to a few good movies and yummy food that left me far too relaxed and content. But alas, I rallied, and when the clock struck 12, my fingers began to dance across the keyboard. Oh how I missed it! I’ve been working on editing projects for the past two months, with varying levels of success (okay, so October was a bit of a struggle and I really didn’t get much done on the editing front). I didn’t realize how much I had missed simply writing. There is a unrestrained fervor that comes with a first draft, a feverish excitement when you are simply collecting the sand to build castles with later. You get to keep your focus trained on the idea itself, not the presentation or the packaging that it comes in. I find this draft to be the most liberating, when you are physically unspooling the story from your soul so that you can create something beautiful. It is liberating, and damn, did I miss it. I feel whole again, as strange as that may sound. Even typing away on a silly piece of fiction makes me feel more authentic than I have in months. So I kept typing, stringing one word after another until my eyes couldn’t look at the screen anymore without crossing. And when I woke up, I went back and did it again.
I am so thrilled with how my project is going this time around. Let me start off by saying that this is not a fresh idea I am working on, so I have a bit of an unfair advantage in that department. This is a project I began last Camp, and it didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I decided to keep my characters and some very basic plot points, but everything was scrapped. I started fresh with the added benefit of knowing my characters a bit more intimately than someone working on a pristine, untouched piece. I must say though, the distance that I took from the project has made all the difference in the world. I have a clearer idea of how I want everything to play out. I know the direction I want to take and I have figured out how to tease out the important details in this story. I finally pushed through the wall that kept knocking me back down last time around. I came back ready to fight, and so far, I think I’m winning.
I must admit, today wasn’t completely issue free. You see, I wanted to sit down for the whole day and see what I could accomplish without distraction. Silly me forgot all about my writing time’s arch nemesis, which comes in the form of a bat-eared four-legged K-9 companion. Link, my German Shepherd, is a sweetheart, truly. He is my cuddle bug when I am sick, my partner in crime when I am in search of a midnight snack, the guard who keeps the cat out of the closet when I’m folding laundry, and my safety net when I’m home alone and can think of nothing except those scary movies I’ve watched. He is my caped crusader, my ride or die. He is also my biggest distraction in the best possible way. Today was no exception. You see, he would much rather be out in the world creature a real life adventure instead of laying at me feet as I pen an imagined one. He is my constant reminder that life must occasionally be lived outside of my head. Once he has decided that it’s break time, he starts sounding off like a broken alarm clock. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard a German Shepherd once they start feeling ‘chatty,’ but barking is no longer in their vocabulary. They start yipping like Dino from the Flintstones. On repeat. Over and over and over. Until they have broken you and you give in to all of their demands. I’m telling you, if he wanted to, this dog could take over the world. Luckily, I believe he would be a benevolent ruler, so we have that in our favor.
As it turns out, the walk that he forced me to take wound up being exactly what I needed to refresh and reenergize myself. Who knew that my four-legged friend knew more about what I needed that I did? not only that, it was a beautiful day outside. When we got back he was ready for a nap and I was able to cruise through another few thousand words unhindered.
Day one will be counted as a success, and I am going to ride this wave as long as it lasts, because I know when the tables turn, they will turn hard. And I really want to hit 100k this year.
Word count: 11,075
Out of: 100,000, which puts me at: 11% complete.
Words remaining: 88,925 (in 29 days)
Current mood on project: Excited and rolling with it while it lasts