Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.”
Final word count NaNoWriMo 2013: 25,514
While people shout out from the roof tops, in this case blogs and Tumblrs, they made it to the 50K mark, I wanted to be one of the people to not only say congratulations to the winner, but to say you are not alone to those not feeling a little down. I made it half way and I like the germ, but I don’t like the execution. That’s what drafts are for, to throw in everything then see what sticks.
Let me tell you what I did learn since November finished yesterday. I told a number of people about this blog. I already have an audience and it’s now time to grow it. I like writing. I can even be good at it. I also know nothing is ever an accident. Last year at the book launch for Thunder Road I met up with Chris Rutkowski, noted expect on UFOs and unexplained phenomenon, and someone I knew from a writer’s group a long time ago. Turns out the crew was still together, now christened Off the Wall, and asked if I wanted to join again. If there’s one thing I learned if the universe knows what you want, it will give you what you need. After a few years of getting my act together since the first time with this group, I took it as a sign.
I also learned to say ‘no’ in order to write. I learned to turn off the critic, even as it said, “Oh, God, that sentence is awful!’ I basically replied, “Shh” and kept going. I work in a library, and I better be pretty good at saying “Shh”. The last few hours of me throwing the creative equivalent of the kitchen sink, and now I think let’s start over with a new application. It was Thomas Edison who once said he didn’t fail, but had 10,000 ways it didn’t work. Some people winning NaNo did so after years of not winning.
I hesitate to cast all this as ‘winning’ or ‘losing’. The t-shirt is nice along with the bragging rights, but it’s about the creative journey. I know that last sentence sounded really sappy, but it’s really about the creative journey. How many people say they will do something, but never end up doing it anyway? Whether it’s 10,000 or 50,000 words, NaNo provides the raw materials, drive and creativity, to take a novel that much further.
Here’s to the winners. Here’s to those who tried. Here’s to the creative fire. May it never die.