I miss NaNo…

I really miss NaNoWriMo. I had so much fun in ’07 and ’08, and then ’09 my head wasn’t in it because of my husband’s hospitalizations. So it just didn’t work for me. I am going through some of my old posts and it brings back some really fond memories of the past.

I don’t have a perfect NaNo track record. I have a life. And that’s okay. But I have high hopes for NaNo ’10. I had a great first novel idea for ’09, the abysmally titled “The Ultimate Rewind” which was to be a chronologically backwards, fractured-fairy-tale-styled, modernized retelling of the Cassandra story of Greek mythology. I am still in love with my ideas, and I did lots of research that it would be a shame to go to waste. And the most telling part? I am still thinking of ways to… “improve it” is not the right term, since I only wrote 8k of that (wait… I wrote 8k in 9 days? that’s still pretty awesome!).

I have so many ideas that I jot them down every few weeks, and I have a plan. My plan is to keep writing this novel for NaNo ’10. Technically that’s not allowed, but my plan is to raise my word count goal. Since I already have 8003 words, I will still write 50k in November, it will simply be in addition to what I have now. That will be hard to guage, since I might do some changing to what I already have, so I am raising my goal to an even 60k to accomodate alterations.

In the meantime, it’s April 16 which is… 197 days until NaNoWriMo!!! That means 197 days for plotting my ideas. I think part of the problem is that my structure idea requires WORK. It’s not like past years when I could pants it. This time I need to figure out the plot in a way that ensures that it will function forwards AND backwards. I need the story to make sense chronologically forward, because duh, but I also want it to make sense chronologically backward because that’s the way I want to tell my story.

I have a long drive to work. It was a half hour today only because it’s Saturday, usually during the week it’s 45 minutes, sometimes as much as an hour. While I was driving I was using my favorite new toy – the voice recorder in my cell phone! I turn it on and talk and then later I can play it back and write things down. (I recorded my shopping list on a drive the other day.) This morning I was thinking about the story and kept recording notes so I won’t forget, and later when I get home to my Cassandra notebook I can transcribe them. Much safer than the post-its I keep on my dashboard!

And then I have now been browsing through some of my old entries, and I’ve decided to make a Blurb book out of all of my old NaNo entries. I’m not sure if I want to do one for each year, or one with all three years… I think I’ll do just ’07 and ’08, and after I finish NaNo ’10 I can put the ’09 entries with it in the beginning since those will be part of the story too.

I have won NaNo two years in a row and refuse to let 2009 get me down. It’s just part of the story.

Is this taking away my “permission to fail” idea? No. I would not be saying this today if I had not given myself permission to fail. If I had failed without giving myself permission, I would feel utterly defeated. I stopped writing not because I ran out of time, but because I acknowledged that, at the time, I was not equipped to finish my story. I was ill-prepared as far as plotting, but also as far as life goes. I didn’t have the luxury of escaping into that world when my husband was in so much back pain and, later that month, literally fighting for his life in the ICU with the worst case of pneumonia his doctor has ever seen. This year I am confident that things will be different. I am going to work on my story lines. I am going to do character sketches. And I am going to stay positive that my husband is almost out of the woods.

NaNoWriMo has always been a bright spot for me, giving me hope for the future. I can create stories and worlds that no one else can. It’s a heady feeling, and it’s indescribable when your characters have come alive enough to tell you about themselves… and it turns out they’re right! I feel powerful and helpless at the same time, and writing that last sentence that takes it past the 50k finish line is such an incredible high, I can’t even tell you. NaNo is my own personal Everest that I can climb year after year, and last year I just wasn’t prepared for the journey. But don’t worry. I’ll be back better than ever this year, and I am hoping this will be the one that makes me famous. *wink*

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