And then I needed about six weeks to recover.
Seriously. I didn't write another word until just a few days ago. (Of course, it doesn't help that December follows the writing marathon from hell.) The weird thing is, it was participating in NaNo that made me sit my butt down and write something after opening multiple blank word documents that never received so much as a choice of font.
The most important thing I think I learned from that month is that even though I love writing, sometimes I really don't want to do it. Then I feed myself excuses as to why I can do it the next day, then put it off another day and the next thing I know it's been six weeks and I have accomplished NOTHING.
With NaNo, you don't have a choice. I took 2 nights off during the month because *cue whiny voice* "I didn't wanna write" and I regretted it when I was racing to catch back up on my word count over the next three days.
I feel like I've spent my entire adult life slacking off then stressing out to meet deadlines, and I'm over it.
NaNo gave me 50 thousand words towards a story, but it also taught me that writing isn't always fun. Some days I won't be inspired. Some days I will be mentally exhausted. And now and again, I will write total crap that should never be viewed by anyone. All that matters is that I keep moving forward.
On more than one occasion, I was asked "Do we get to read what you write this month?"
I didn't expect that question. No joke. It freaked me out. Especially when I realized that writing without any editing process resulted in some astoundingly bad stuff. However, it wasn't all terrible and under the rubble there is actually some decent bones to work with and a few parts that will survive the word cull.
So yes, you get to read it. Well a little piece of it. Hopefully one day it is ready to wear the daunting title of "completed manuscript" or "published novel".
That long winded introduction is for this short excerpt from my NaNo disaster/accomplishment.
The dusky sky was purple and darkening like a bruise. Streetlights buzzed to life as the light in the sky waned. The sun was still perched above the horizon, holding onto the last moment of the day.
Ava watched the corner of the street expectantly. Any moment his car could turn the corner. She has waited so patiently for him to not let her down. He always came back, no matter how bad the fight had been, regardless of the crazed and terrible things their mother said, he always came back.
The front door creaked open, but she refused to glance away from her post. She listened vaguely for the sound of footsteps behind her to determine which sister had come to join her on the porch steps.
The slap slap slap of bare feet against the concrete and faint aroma of maple syrup from that morning’s breakfast assured her it was her youngest sibling, Gwen. She wasn’t surprised. Gwen was never too far away for too long.
She parked herself next to Ava and stared off into the same direction. “When’s Daddy going to be home?” she asked with the innocence of a five year old.
“Soon,” Ava answered. She ignored the small nag in the back of her mind that told her she shouldn’t lie to her little sister.
“Ava, I’m hungry. Can Mommy make dinner now?”
Ava inhaled a dose of patience as a small fire burned in her chest. “Don’t bother Mom. I’ll make you something in a few minutes.”
“But I’m really hungry,” Gwen whined.
“I said in a minute!” Ava snapped, immediately regretting her tone.
Gwen shrunk into herself for a moment. She quickly recovered and looked up to the sky. “Look how pretty!”
Ava didn’t want to look. She knew the brilliant colors of twilight meant the sun was nearly gone, along with her hope that her father would be home soon.
They kept their vigil on the porch, Gwen watching the sky and Ava staring at the street corner.
“Please,” Ava whispered.
He always came home.
“Goodnight, sun!” Gwen announced with a small wave. “Now can we eat?” She broke Ava’s stare with her large, blue eyes.
Ava couldn’t speak. She simply nodded and ushered Gwen inside. She looked back once more over her shoulder hoping it would be the exact moment headlights appeared to turn down their street.
The darkness only stared back and she followed Gwen into the house.