I'm one of those people who hates being late: I feel like my face is melting off when I'm late. And yet, it happens. Like right now. Right now, I'm technically late. Very, very late.
I started NaNoWriMo on day ten. *face melts*
If you haven't heard of it before, NaNoWriMo is a cult of insane people who craft a work of fiction under impossible circumstances.
Well, okay, that's not the technical definition. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. This month, actually. Participating in NaNoWriMo means: You write a novel of 50,000 words (or more) in a mere thirty days.
Honestly, it's brilliant. With that extreme deadline, you just have to get the heck over yourself. You write really, really badly. And then you write some more. It's exciting, freeing, and a whole lot of fun. Plus, you have the comradeship of zillions of other writers--equally bonkers, equally caffeinated, churning out their own sometimes-great sometimes-terrible prose.
It's a rush.
And super difficult. Even when you have all thirty days. Showing up on day ten, saying here I am, writers! and then kicking off your project? Not exactly a winning strategy.
But, if you've been following along with me over the last few weeks, you already know that 1) I'm not always sane, 2) I like writing at a breathtaking pace, and 3) I have to crank out the third book of this trilogy!
So I had a long conversation with my calendar. I said: Oh gosh. I have basically six weeks before the holidays really get swinging. Remember holidays? All the mental space I usually reserve for writing gets taken over until I'm all like, "Who's a writer? Do I know any writers?"
That, I said to my calendar, is what happens.
My calendar is very stoic. But it did point out that six weeks is six weeks, and I couldn't argue with that. It nudged my calculator under my fingertips and said, what would you have to do to finish that novel in six weeks?
WRITE A LOT OF WORDS. REALLY FAST. 50,000 words in the first three weeks. That kind of fast.
So I dove in. I signed up. And today, I cracked open a fresh spiral notebook, clicked a new pen, and got to work. The first twelve pages on Book Three. I added my word count (2940!) to my NaNo page. And it informed me that at this rate, I would finish my novel sometime in April.
Ha! I shouted. Ha! said my calendar. Ha! said my calculator. Wanna bet?
I'm gonna have the first 50,000 words done by the end of November, and write the rest during the first three weeks of December.
And then I'll be done. And probably really dizzy. Because this will be a longer book than Book Two--probably--with one less week to do it in. Hence the dizzy. But not so dizzy that I can't string a few lights, sing a few songs, and cook some seriously awesome food.
Food. Wait. That reminds me. There are a few obstacles between now and then. Like, Thanksgiving. Oh, and my family is dealing with a scary medical diagnosis at the moment. There could be a surgery between now and then. Oooh, and this: I just started a new workout program to deal with the impending good-food explosion. Not to mention: have I actually remembered enough words after finishing the last book to be in good shape for this one?
So maybe I started hyperventilating last night, just a wee bit.
What's your experience with trilogies? Does the third book ever start in a really happy place? Not as far as I know. The characters are not all full of high-fives and back-slaps and party hats. The ones I'm thinking of--The Return of the King and Mockingjay are fresh in my mind--are pretty dang grim on page one.
Which is about how my third book starts too.
My poor main character. Chapter One? Is basically a whole herd of crazy that she could never have predicted. It starts with major difficulties and ends up much worse. She is reeling by page twelve.
So I gave her a pep talk. And because I'm a writer, I wrote it down. And then because I'm reeling too, I read it to myself.
And heck. I don't know where this Monday finds you, but maybe you need this too. It's a fairly multipurpose pep talk, after all. So here it is.
Remember who you were at the start of this whole thing.
At the beginning of book one, page one. Yeah, life was quiet and "fine," but you knew you were made for more than that. You wanted to know if you could do great things. If you could tackle challenges. Adventures.
You can, and you will. Even though you don't see that now.
Sometimes bravery means, you don't let the shadows swallow you up.
Sometimes bravery means holding one true thought in your mind, and focusing on that. Letting that truth keep you company.
Bravery means not giving up. Not giving in.
You're already so much stronger than you were way back in that first chapter, two books ago. Even though you feel small now, look at how much you've grown.
And oh, I'm already planning the ending of this story, and your last page is good. Hard won, but good. You will be so tall and so brave that you will barely recognize the girl from page one.
Don't give up. You really were made to face challenges, to become stronger.
Go and be the adventurer you are.