It’s August 14th and that means I’m almost half-way through Camp NaNoWriMo.  During the past two weeks, I’ve experienced a wide range of emotions:

Fear – I’ve definitely felt fear each morning as I sat down to write.  As I faced my blank computer screen, I wondered what I would do if I had nothing to write about.  When I started Camp NaNoWriMo, I had this feeling I wanted to write a collection of linked short stories set in Durango, Colorado, and I had one or two characters in mind.  When I say I had two characters in mind, here’s what I had: Trish, a 29-year old bartender, and Roger, a sixty(ish) guy who owns a restaurant named Cristina’s.  That’s it – I had no personal history, no descriptions of what they look like or what makes them original or interesting.  When I allowed my fingers to begin typing towards the goal of 1700 words a day, fear gave way to…

Surprise – Imagine my surprise when, each day except for one, when I was truly blocked,  something bubbled up that felt interesting enough to write about.  I filled pages and pages with material, hardly ever stopping to review what I’d written because when I did, I fell headfirst into the next emotion…

Anxiety — The whole point of cranking out 50,000 words in one month is to get the story out, without being hung up on perfect, beautiful writing.  What I’ve been typing each day is very rough, and I constantly cringe at what I’ve written, because some of it is downright dreadful.  And this makes me anxious, because allowing first draft writing to remain on the page as I move to the next page is hard to do.  And then, sometime last week, the anxiety gave way to its close cousin…

Despair – This phase was fleeting but unkind.  I skipped writing two weekends ago, choosing to spend the time with my family and doing work around the house.  That put me 3400 words “behind,” and I’ve been playing catchup ever since.  I’m not living in some writer’s colony right now, so it’s challenging enough fitting into daily life the 1700 words I intend to write each day.  So far I’ve failed at catchup, and I may not hit the end goal of 50,000 words.  A part of me wanted to give up completely because I might not hit my original goal.  Thankfully, I have people in my life who check me, and helped me see the larger picture…

Satisfaction – I’ve written over 70 pages of new material in these first two weeks of August.  Today, I had the breakthrough that the people behind NaNoWriMo claim happens when you trust the process.  A structure began to emerge, and the individual chapters, which focus on one or two specific characters, began to link together.  This really is the beginning of a collection of linked short stories.  I don’t understand how this happened, I just know that it has happened.  I’m reminded of flying through clouds on the descent into the airport, and the vision and clarity that emerges as the plane dips below the clouds.

 

 

 

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