My memory is rather foggy about the job searching I did between when I put this blog on hiatus and when I got my current retail job at JCPenney. However, one thing does stick out for me among some blurry correspondence with people who thought relocation was an impossibility and endless no responses. That was NaNoWriMo.
For those unfamiliar with it, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month–something I’d heard of for a few years but had never had the nerve or time to attempt it. Last year, with the edges of depression creeping in and places like Macy’s and Target rejecting me on the lines of being “overqualified” and making me rage, I dropped nearly everything to begin plotting my novel, doing plot work and character sketches, and generally be nervous and excited about November 1. I liked my main character and her sister, enjoyed the work I’d put into her best friends’ characters, and was looking forward to crafting a love story in the midst of the storyline.
November 1st came and I took off running. I packed up my laptop and headed to the downtown Starbucks and found myself a small corner table to type furiously away at. I had the opening scene in my head for weeks, so it came easily as the story began to flow out on paper. Within a couple of hours, I had already finished my quota for the day. For once in a long time, I felt satisfied and accomplished about something I’d done. I resolved to myself that day that I wouldn’t reread anything I’d written until after it was finished, just as the NaNoWriMo staff emphasized, in order to cut down later and get what you needed out in the meantime.
As the days passed, I remained fairly vigilant. I started going to the Barnes and Noble Starbucks at the mall, buy a chai tea and type for a few hours, surveying my surroundings and scouring my vocabulary for the descriptive words I wanted. I stayed in my room stretched out on my bed, or wrote while listening to my guildies joke around on Mumble after a raid.
About two weeks in, a couple of things happened. First of all, I applied to be a holiday associate at JCPenney before I went to Starbucks to work on my novel, and they called me for a group interview the same day. Secondly, my story began to take a wild turn on me. Both of these factors eventually became what would become a good thing, but really ended up being the downfall of me being able to complete it within the timeframe.
My story became something else completely. A subconscious desire for fantasy was injected into the story, as well as a obvious sense of adventure. My main character’s sister was kidnapped, and her sister resolved to rescue her, and my main character has hints of something different about her by the way others comment on the color of her eyes. I soon had some good things written down, but didn’t know what to do with them.
Along with this, I was hired to work at JCPenney for the holidays. I somewhat threw myself into the job, hoping they would keep me past the holidays, and I worked as hard as I could. I tried bringing my Moleskine with me to work on parts of my novel during my breaks, but I usually ended up staring into space while the distraction of the TV and others in the break room disturbed my concentration. One morning, while sitting at Josh’s computer desk at his house while on one of my days off, I realized that I was behind 5,000 words with where I was supposed to be. Feeling overwhelmed, I decided that the finish line would not be in sight this year.
However, those 22,000 words are still sitting on my computer, untouched since then, except for a short read of the first few pages recently. They are still there, and the story that began to develop is still there. I can finish it, rework it, let it develop, then edit out what doesn’t fit and make it a fairly decent story. Possibly decent enough to be picked up by the e-book market, who knows?
All I know is that NaNoWriMo taught me a few important things. It taught me that I should do what I love, and that is writing, in whatever form I can, whenever I can, however I can. I should not despair about how things turn out, only rejoice at how they end up being. And, of course, that even something that seemed to fail at first doesn’t necessarily have to, and can end up being great in the end if I put forth some effort.
So who knows? Maybe my novel will be published–I’ve just got to put in the work to make sure that happens sooner rather than later.