Unbelievably, I delivered the goods, rising to the NaNoWriMo challenge of committing 50,000 words to paper in thirty days. How? If you’d told me on Halloween that I’d write a novel’s worth of prose before December, I’d have laughed in your face. But there’s something about specific goals and deadlines that brings out the scrapper in me. It was infuriating to struggle against the clock, short of inspiration, bereft of ideas, with no time to research. But it worked.
Now I’ll let you in on a little secret: It’s awful, most of it, so much so that I’m afraid to look. This exercise has made me question whether I could ever actually write a book. I had to beg, borrow, cheat and steal. I bumped off a few good characters. I pitted siblings against each other. I cried. I cursed. The horse disappeared and never came back. The rest of the people who invaded my brain for the last month, well, I could care less if I ever see them again. The weren’t cooperating, anyway. I hate them, every one.
There’s a reason I went into advertising — pithy headlines, I can churn those out all day. But a novel? Maybe there are some seeds of a story in the pile of pages I produced. I honestly don’t know. I ploughed through it, though, so I’ll allow myself the luxury of following Audrey Niffenegger’s advice: “Now that it is December, I hope you will kick back, have a cup of coffee, reread your 50,000 words, ponder a bit, and then… go for a walk.” That… that, I can do.
MOTHER of FOUR, freelance writer, amateur silversmith, domestic dynamo, chef de maison, head chauffeur, sanitation supervisor, social director, crisis manager, chief arbiter, errand expert, auxiliary ATM, maven of multitasking, sleep deprivation specialist, keeper of the cookies…