This year I am not doing Nanowrimo. I am in the middle of a major edit of a novel I hope will be published. But I have participated in years past and may do it again next year.
Though I am not doing Nanowrimo this year, I have come up with an image that kind of goes along with the exercise. Writing a nanowrimo is like riding a bull or a bronco at a rodeo. You get on, then you are in for a wild ride. And it ain’t like riding that mechanical bull you see in some bars. This one’s wild as wildness can be. He’s bound and determined you ain’t going to get far on his back.
No matter how you practice for that sucker, it ain’t like riding the real thang. You get on, then the chute opens and you’re in for the write of your life. I ought to know. I’ve done four of ‘em. Nanowrimos, that is. Not bull rides or bronc bustings. I may be a little nuts but I’m not crazy.
I start out well enough. October 31 I have my spurs and my chaps all ready to saddle up and write that fellow into the dust. I have my outline. I have pictures of my main characters. I know who they are and they know who I am. And to cliché a phrase, I’m chomping at the bit to get at that Nanowrimo. He’s not about to best me this year. Sure, he’s a little red-eyed and has that snarl. That’s to be expected.
So it’s November 1, and I rise from my bed. I grab my big mug of coffee. I know I’m not going to get a good ride out of that bull without a cup of joe. I crackle my knuckles. I lower myself easy into the chair, then I face the future.
The blank page.
I check my outline. I peruse my notes. I realize. This bull just isn’t ready to fly from the chute. He’s gone tame on me. What am I to do? Go choose another bull. It’s too late. It’s this one or it’s nothing. Well, you can imagine my surprise when I give the bull a kick and it’s off.
I start on a scene not in the outline. “What? You can’t do that,” you say. But, oh, I can. It is written by the scribe who writes such things that I can. I take a gander at my outline and start to wonder what really happened to get this booger going. Why is Mr. Main in the mess he is in? Has he been messing where he shouldn’t have been messing? You can imagine my surprise when I finish almost a thousand words that first day.
Over the next few days, well, actually it is more like over the next week or so, I write 25,000 words and more. I am up to that first scene in my outline. I’d let the beast take over and lead me wherever. I would sit down to work on a scene and start writing, then somewhere a character, a prop or even a setting showed up unplanned. All I can say is “Very interesting.” Then continue on.
After thirty days of sweating the blood, sweat and tears it takes to ride a Nanowrimo, I have my 50,000 words. I have bloody fingers and calluses on my rear. But it’s been worth it. It’s a tough ride and I’ve managed to stay on that bull’s back for the entire thirty days of November and then some.