During the month of November, I began writing a novel for the first time.
I started the process because I chanced upon “National Novel Writing Month” (“nanowrimo”) on November 2nd
I had no outline, no plan and no process.
(This fact would horrify my boss, who is utterly preoccupied with plans and processes and documentation. Fortunately for both of us, he has no reign in the realm of my writing.)
I had an idea of a story I would write. I simply sat down in front of my laptop, put my hands into home position and set into the task, carving away at the wood one shaving at a time.
File > Save As > “this is how it starts”
The writing came easily – more easily than I had imagined, and seemingly a little too easy, to be fair. It seemed ridiculous, suddenly, that I had never thought to try this before. I wrote fluidly, mostly because I understood that real objective of the month: write 50,000 words. I was fortunate to realize, early on, this is all I had to do; no more. I felt, working through it, that the 50,000 words came easily, that they rose to the surface to be skimmed off even as I gathered up and harvested those before them. It seemed foolproof to do this, to allow the thoughts to present themselves and then simply put them down on paper, without concerning myself with their plan. I let the words write themselves, without questioning their direction or imposing my own.
Having never attempted to write a novel before, I surprised myself by finishing the whole piece in about two weeks.
And while it was not the most magical production in language history, writing it still was, and that was all that mattered, for nanowrimo.
That is the whole point.
You write for the sake of writing, without concerning yourself with being brilliant.
This is what I did, and the whole thing felt comfortable.
A week after I finished, I started again, opening a fresh document and beginning anew, with only eight days left and little more than one character that I felt deserved a fighting chance. (I finished this second story – and so then had two – by month end.)
And both of these things came as a tremendous surprise to me. It was exciting. It was stimulating and inspiring and uplifting. When writing came easily, everything came more easily. I found that the more I wrote, the more I did everything, and then the more I wrote… and I’ve kept on writing, until it doesn’t feel right to do it anymore.