It is incredibly freeing to word vomit all over a computerized document for 50,000 words in thirty days. “Freeing” was one of the last adjectives I would have thought I’d use to describe NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—but the initial feeling of trepidation has subsided, restraints have been lifted, expectations eradicated. Getting everything out of my head and into a first draft is cathartic, regardless of how good or bad the writing can be. Truth is, I’ve started and stopped multiple manuscripts before this, only to get caught up trying to rewrite the passages I’ve already written, never moving forward or reaching the finish line.
And what am I writing, you ask? A largely autobiographical piece, excavating and fictionalizing the last year of my life, which brought me from Tibet to New York to India. During that time period, I left Tibet knowing I might never go back, did two things I swore I’d never (signed a lease on an apartment and accepted a salaried position), semi-settled in Brooklyn, fell (hard) into a long-distance relationship, lost said salaried position, and moved to India for a British guy—a move that lasted a mere seventeen days.
The year was marked by a series of failures. At least, that’s what I originally thought, but in excavating I’m aiming to reassign the failures, find the inherent wisdom, figure out exactly what happened and why in order to better understand the significance of it all and ultimately move forward.
If I end up with a 50,000 word draft that could be reworked into a piece of literature, then that’s fantastic. But if I end up with pages upon pages of catharsis and word vomit, that’s alright with me too. As long as I learn something in the process it will be worthwhile, which is something I have to continually remind myself of each time the prospect of a blank page overwhelms me.
If you’re taking part in this year’s NaNoWriMo, or have participated in the past, please comment or get in touch with me. I’d love to hear from you! Whether you’re participating or not, you may track my progress at: http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/participants/e-v-de-cleyre