Song That Helped Me Out: Even Flow, by Pearl Jam
Word Count: 51908
Part One of a Four Part Series
I remember it was 2007 and I was just a sophomore in college. Living in the dorms, making friends, having a blast. Oh and studying too.
It was the second week of October and I was just browsing the web. I was on a forum and I saw a post about NaNoWrimo. I then searched for NaNoWriMo. I browsed through the many pages on the website and thought that it seemed like a cool thing to do. Problem was that November was creeping up on me fast.
As you may have read here, House was one of my favorite T.V. shows at the time. I was also pretty interested in computers back then. I then had an idea.
“What if I create a doctor who approaches problems like a guy who codes software?”
I wanted to make a bad-ass character who was also a nerd! Thankfully, I did think of some ways to make this character to be…not so perfect.
I then had to create some other characters and come up with some kind of conflict. After all, that’s one of the reasons why we read stories or watch T.V. series. We are drawn to conflict and want to see if the protagonist overcomes that mountain of problems.
I never really considered bouncing my ideas off other people. I didn’t need other people’s ideas. I can write an awesome story by myself!
Once November 1st came around, I began writing. The first few thousand words seemed easy. Fifty thousand seemed plausible.
Then, writer’s block hit me, like a brick falling on your head.
I really didn’t do as much planning as I needed to do. Plus I wasn’t as creative as I would say I am now. Writing on the spot wasn’t really one of my strong points.
That novel just sat there, rotting in the digital refrigerator known as my computer. I just couldn’t get out of these mental freeze-ups. It also didn’t help that my time management skills were average.
November ended and I only wrote about ten thousand words. I was really disappointed and humbled. I think the biggest thing I lacked the first time going through this challenge was a network of other participants. I’ll admit, sometimes just seeing someone with a higher word count drives me to keep on writing. Plus, I never talked about my novel ideas with anyone. This was a good sign that I was already afraid of criticism.
What I wrote also didn’t seem promising. The characters were pretty static. I took too long to ever jump into any conflict. I didn’t even want to turn the pages!
But, looking back I’m glad I wrote so little. This wasn’t an easy challenge and it took a high level of commitment. Failing to write this year drove me to get ready for next year. I wanted to hit that fifty thousand word mark. I wanted to make some cool but flawed characters who could fight and work their butts off to win…even if I kept throwing every obstacle I could think of at them.