My new view of #NaNoWriMo

“The novel is born of disillusionment; the poem, of despair.”~Jose Bergamin, Spanish writer

This year, I free myself from NaNoWriMo convention and snub my nose at what is expected.

Everyone approaches NaNoWriMo differently. This first year I discovered that the month of November was reserved for writers, I was amazed. Who does this? Could I write 50,000 words in one month? Every other writer seemed to be doing it, and I’m loopy for challenges. I jumped in.

Those first two years, I completed the challenge, earning some local NaNoWriMotown stickers and buttons along the way. Those two half-started stories sit in a dusty file on my computer catching cobwebs. They were pushed through for word count, not necessarily interest.

The next two years, I broke away from the expected. I decided not to start a new novel. Instead, I would add words to an existing story. That’s officially a NaNo no-no, but these were my 50,000 words, dammit! In fact, I would write non-fiction if I wanted, not the rule-based fiction novel. I completed that challenge, adding nice stuff into pieces I have yet to complete.

Year Five, I started writing a new story, stalled on it half way through word count, and began a new story mid-month. I completed that, showing how fast I can type under pressure.  It was yet another I-thought-this-was-a-great-idea-at-the-time-but-what-was-I-thinking story. Sloppy words, all 50,000 of them.  Or maybe it was 79,000 words total.

This whole word count thing seems like a waste. However, last year, I wrote a striking sequel to my published humorous crime drama short story, Jimmy the Burglar. I wanted to cheer for the burglar again because I had all these future story ideas flouncing around in my head. I broke it down into the elements that excited me:

WHO–Jimmy the Burglar
DOING WHAT–Stealing from a boutique store
WHEN–After the first story, at night
WHERE–The town is based on Plymouth, Michigan. That’s a hip-n-trendy town nearby with a park and a fountain, two tea shops and a paint your own pottery place.
WHY–Because I wear funky socks, and someone pointed that out to me on my Instagram account.

That story–successfully completed and fiction to boot–is in some stage of draft.  I haven’t worked on it in awhile, but I adore it. I want you to root for the burglar to successfully steal stuff.  He’s a fun character, and I’m always excited to tell his tales.

I planned to continue work on Thief of Socks this month, but we’re moving from Michigan to New Jersey soon-ish. Packing up 10 years worth of house into a storage unit is way more time consuming than I expected. No way I’ll have the time or energy.

Until last night when I discovered an old box.

As a kid into adulthood, I saved every letter and card people sent me. When everyone switched to email, the only way to keep correspondence was to print the emails. Inside that plastic tub were 6 or 7 binders of those printed emails. There’s no way I want to move those. I found separate binders of printed emails between my friend and I back when we emailed daily haikus. If I wrote first in the day, her reply contained my haiku. I’ve always wanted to compile my poems into a chapbook, and this is the perfect opportunity. I’ll flip through binder by binder and type in every haiku of mine I can find. Tedious, time-consuming, but so is NaNoWriMo. Do I have 50,000 words of haiku? We’ll know on December 1.

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