One Word

“Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!”

  • Albus Dumbledore

There are currently 53 blog posts in my drafts. If this isn’t a metaphor for my life, I don’t know what is.

I’ve learned over the years that a great big part of any sort of creative process is collecting scraps. In any of the stories I’ve written – complete or not – I can find traces of other ideas, bits of inspiration, leftover parts from previous works, and evidence of my current favorite songs and books and movies. All of these half-formed stories get collected wherever I can find a place, be it on my desktop, on Dropbox, in the margins of my sermons notebook, or in the notes folder on my phone.

File Nov 01, 9 20 23 AM

The same holds true for here. There are so many things I’ve set out to say that I’ve never shared, even when my platform is this anonymous blog. Often the reason is that I can’t quite articulate the specific issue or thought on my mind adequately enough, so I give up and let it drop.

Enter NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is all about getting the words out. There isn’t a lot of room for hesitation, backtracking, or red pens. The point is to get the story from your head to the page, so you can get a good look at it and see where it can be taken.

I don’t like this, which is why NaNoWriMo has always been so useful to me. I like to ponder, to hem and haw over the words. To type one, sounding it out in my head, then lean back and examine it from all angles to see if it fits. I’ll read it over and over and over to myself, tweak it, rearrange it, and possibly attack the backspace button until I have enough room to start over. I prefer writing as my means of communication because I have this liberty to adjust and rearrange to my heart’s content.

Also, no one can interrupt me halfway through a thought.

During NaNoWriMo, I don’t have the luxury of being able to pause, pull up a thesaurus, and find the right word; particularly when Fay and I are in the middle of a word war. Those are take-no-prisoners sorts of situations. It’s one word in front of the other and never mind if it isn’t the right word. If I don’t know the word I need, I’ll put a substitute in parentheses and move on. If I don’t remember someone’s name, no time to look it up. I either guess or put “(thatannoyingguyfromchapter3)” in its place.

As with the last few years, I started psyching myself up for November way back in August. Last autumn was “Beat up the Morryce Household with a Dead Horse” season, so there were many fits and starts with my writing and I didn’t start my official NaNo novel until the middle of the month. I was optimistic for this year. I was going to pick up the threads of the story I had started for Camp NaNo and finally get the thing finished.

My brain had other ideas.

With the combined efforts of a couple of moody princes, a librarian with a stubborn streak, a merchant’s daughter with a curse, and an evil tree spirit, my current WIP ground to a halt in a bog and I haven’t found the wherewithal to get it out. Don’t think I haven’t tried. (You might be right.)

A shape-shifter with a personality complex tried to offer me a Plan B, but her dead mother keeps dredging up plot kinks I haven’t been able to work out. Then there’s The Story I’m Too Scared to Write, which may simmer on the back burner until it’s nothing but dried up, burned minerals.

I was also weighing the pros and cons of just not writing for one round of NaNoWriMo, but my brain couldn’t comprehend that notion. I mean, I’d already told three people about it and put up that nifty “NaNoWriMo Participant” badge on my blog.

November was drawing nearer and I was starting to feel desperate. Time to pull out my spur-of-the-moment double-back-up plan:

Blogging every day in November.

Desperate times, kids.

It’s not a novel. It’s not a graphic novel, a comic book, a collection of poetry, or even strictly speaking a memoir or auto-biography. There may be a little of that last item sprinkled throughout; but mostly it’ll just be me, shouting into the cyber-void with whatever comes to mind.

Not to say I don’t have a plan. I have something akin to a plan to help guide me on this journey of self-discovery and likely embarrassment. I’m well-acquainted with the Week Two burnout, so I have bloggy prompts available. Also, when I say “blogging every day”, I don’t mean writing one post from start to finish in a day, though I will be sharing one post per day. In keeping with my methods for every project I undertake, I’ll probably have drafts of multiple posts going at once.

(Note to Fay: I will still engage in word wars with you, hopefully with a proper story, or maybe one of your prompts.)

Will I fail? Most definitely. Very likely.  All bets are off. Right now I’m just focusing on putting one word in front of the other.

Will it be interesting? I imagine so, in the way that watching a bull fight or a housewife in slippers get mauled by her tabby cat. I make no promises. I plead no pity or indulgences. If you want to cover your eyes and plug your ears until November is over, be my guest. At least two posts will probably be dedicated to my dog, and another three to my houseplants, fish, and/or worms.

One will be about my sister’s wedding, but that’s for another day.

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