Saturday, November 30, 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013

NaNoWriMo has, at last, finished. I'm actually sorry to see it go. I was so much more excited for it this year than I have been in the past, for whatever reason. It's been a beautiful and frustrating month. I feel like the beauty mainly came from how involved I came in this months story. How much of myself I put into it. It was a lot more serious and heavy than any of my past endeavors, and that was both rewarding and difficult. It is also beautiful that I didn't put in a bunch of work only to not finish and feel like a failure, as I briefly have in other years when I did not finish. A completely arbitrary and self-obligated failure, of course, but isn't all failure that way really?

On the other hand, the frustration came mainly from the constant realization that I was carving time out of my already too cluttered life to write a book that not many people will read, that will likely never be really published and that, frankly, isn't all that good. My one great hope for my writing now is that it is the first steps towards becoming a really good writer down the road, and that maybe I'll catch onto an idea in one of these books that can be reworked enough as I develop more skill in the craft, to be something that is readable.

But there also lies the distinct possibility that I don't have what it takes to become a good writer. I haven't had the experience, both in writing and in life to pull out from inside of me the substance necessary to make a book meaningful and the experience necessary to separate good things that I write from bad things.

I am pleased that there are several good things in this book. I felt connected to main character in a substantial way, and the side characters of her family gained some richness. This book takes the form of a blog, although I don't think the voice that comes across from the narrator is really a blogger as much as a writer seeking feedback and community. I included, as a key part of the story, then, some comments from loyal readers of the blog, and it was in these comments that I felt the story really bogged down. The characters making the comments didn't ever really find their voice, mainly because I didn't develop enough of a backstory to them, I think, but also because I struggled to write convincingly from so many viewpoints constrained to such a small space as a comment section. They were very limited in what they could do or say as an inherent part of being only given a voice when they were directly commenting on what the main character wrote.

Fortunately, these comments could be changed, developed or dropped without affecting the story much, so if I wanted to go back and revise, I probably could.

I do feel proud that, while it might have seemed like a huge imposition to Cait, I got most of this writing done without taking too much time away from the family. There were several late nights, several very rushed cleanings of the house, poorly scheduled shopping trips and some sub-par dinner offerings, including our first ever ordering of Chinese food takeout. But overall, I was able to get most of the writing done in the times when the kids were at school, or while Atticus was at school and Lulah was napping. All of November saw Atticus in both his regular preschool as well as the phonology preschool that he goes to in sessions to help work on his speech.

Usually, I use this time for writing articles for the online advertising company that I work for and that is where most of the time tradeoff took place (also, blogging, which I didn't do at all, apparently). It's nice that I could put aside my job for a month to focus on what is, for now, a glorified hobby. Of course, the trade off for a really flexible job is that the job itself is pretty, how shall I put this, mind-numbing and poor-paying. Not that I'm not grateful. I'm glad that Cait is a stellar enough scholar that she is able to make (or be granted, I suppose) enough money for us to live on and we don't have to put the kids in even more daycare so that I could find a part-time job that would likely only pay for that extra daycare.

But this isn't about my working situation. This is about my book. I'm glad that it is done. I'm proud of what it is and the work I put into it and the things I learned along the way.

I'll be uploading it to my new writing website, that I'll be talking more about in the next few days, once I have it all cleaned up. Thanks for sticking with us.


  1. I am proud of you son and think you have the potential to become a great writer.