November 20, 2009

The Worst NaNoWriMo Pep Talk Ever

November is the time when teachers like to pile midterms on students. I had two midterms and a paper due all on the same day. I maintained my grade in one class, did considerable worse on another class, and have yet to determine what my grade on the term paper was. In my defense, a lot of things were on my mind this month. I will admit that I didn't make proper use of my time in one class and that I underestimated the test. Needless to say, I didn't get any NaNoWriMo work done. None of the characters were cooperating and the story was at a stand still. I wanted to write because writing is my escape. I was so ready to throw in the towel and I'll explain why I didn't later.

For the past two years, it seems that people I know tend to die around this time. Last year, a man I was visiting in the hospice died and I didn't know for a month. No one ever told me. In fact, he died two days after my twentieth birthday and I was going to go visit him the day he died (I didn't know he was dead at this point), but I was extremely sick and couldn't make it. I had this feeling that the next time I would go back to that house, he wouldn't be there. I prepared myself for it, but I didn't want to be right.

This year, I had two cousins die unexpectedly. The cousin on my dad's side died in September, but we didn't find out for a couple weeks. We actually found out through the internet. Me, being the attention whore that I was (and will probably no longer be after this experience), decided to Google my name and my cousin's obituary was one of the first things that popped up. On top of that, I was on the phone with my mom at the time and I had to tell her that my cousin had died.

Then a couple weeks ago, the cousin on my mother's side passed away. My aunt's daughter. She wasn't feeling well and refused to go see a doctor (which unfortunately is how my other cousin died as well, by not following the doctors orders). She talked to my aunt in the morning and by the afternoon, she had passed away. They said that she had a stroke.

The funeral was November 19, 2009. It was a lovely service. People had a lot of nice things to say about her. It wasn't like those funerals where people fumbled for something nice to say, everything was genuine. I tried not to cry, but I did. I will be honest and say that I didn't really know either of my cousins very well. I'm the youngest of my first cousins at a measly 21 years old and both of them were well into their 40's. Their deaths just brought up feelings of losing people in life and reminded all of us that life is too short and that you never really know when it's your time to go.

One thing I love my family is our resiliency. We aren't exactly the close knit kind of family that celebrates every holiday together, but when you need support, we will be there. During the funeral, we cried and said our good-byes. An hour later, we were laughing and remembering, and celebrating life. Death is only a part of life.

So where does NaNoWriMo come into this? Some might be saying that it might be a little selfish to think about that when so much bad stuff has been happening. Writing has almost always been a therapeutic thing for me, so when that wouldn't work it got overwhelming. I didn't have an outlet. I read my stories online(I'm still behind on some of those), but I was too busy to pick up a pleasure book to read.

I deleted all the Sims 2 games from my computer (I had all the expansion sets that I borrowed from a friend) in favor of the Sims 3, then played it out to the point that it's not interesting anymore (not to mention that I couldn't make the people as hot as I could in the Sims 3. Something about that uncanny valley thing made them a bit too real and weird looking.) I wanted to start a new project with some of the ideas I had, but nothing was coming. In fact the only thing I had to look forward to this week was Glee (which was a descent episode imo, but last weeks was the best so far).

Why didn't I throw in the towel? Because life is too short. Who knows when I'll get an opportunity to push the story forward in such a fast paced manner. I got at least 2 1/2 descent usable episodes out of IAR in a matter of weeks and if I push myself I could at least attempt to reach 50,000. That's the whole heart of the matter, right? The journey to the 50,000 words, not exactly the words themselves. I had a 3 hour jam session that served as a therapeutic outlet as soon as I got back from the funeral. I needed it. But while critiquing and helping a friend on his music, I went into brainstorming mode and the ideas started to flow. I'm letting them sit for a little bit (I need to do some assignments and things) and will be trying to get 10,000-15,000 words before Thanksgiving.

Why you shouldn't throw in the towel?
  • Your idea deserves to see itself in reality. Even if it's a "bad" idea, you'll have a tangible idea of your efforts in seeing your piece be completed. 
  • Life is too short to give up (of course if you have other priorities that are more important, take care of those too/instead) 
  • Just read the pep talks of well-known authors. They know what they are talking about. 
If you have to throw in the towel, there are plenty of opportunities to try it again.
  • Script Frenzy
  • Various groups on LJ that I'm a bit too lazy to find. (They are out there though)
  • There's always next year. 
Good luck on your novels!

P.S. Still at 7,741 words, but still trying to push more out.


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