My feet get itchy this time of year. Something about the change of seasons makes me start thinking about doing things differently. Last year wasn’t so bad, because I was already planning a wedding and a new life, but in years past I’ve changed my major, decided to move to Oklahoma, found a new job. This year, I just feel antsy. I had a case of The Sad last week, work has been full of ennui, and I want a challenge.
So I’m going to do NaNoWriMo this year. Decided. I’ve had the seeds of a novel rattling around in my mind for a couple years, but it wasn’t until I had to spend 2 hours in traffic every day that characters, plot points, and setting started to come together. The story will be set in a post-plague fantasy Middle Ages and feature an inventor, a foundling, a regent, and a cook.
I don’t have all the plot details or timeline or any of that, but I’m not worried. My brain knows more than I do. I don’t write fiction much – most of my words go towards reports and emails for work. I participated in 2010 (and finished a novella, Creme Brulee and Casting Off, which I have never reread once finished) but I haven’t written much since then.
But I remember the feeling of rushing along the edge of an avalanche, of being picked up and carried along by words and story, and of tenuously trusting myself to keep writing, even if I didn’t exactly know where the whole thing was going. Rachael at Yarn-a-Go-Go recently posted a list of quotes about writing and I was reminded that my story doesn’t have to be great, it just has to be written. NaNoWriMo is an exercise in silencing my inner editorial voice, the voice that tells me not to write or think or do something because it is embarrassing or stupid or awkward. And, after all, in the immortal words of Ernest Hemingway, “the first draft of anything is shit.” I’m going to write badly with abandon, 1,667 words a day.
Who is with me?