29 Percent Isn’t Half Bad

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The empty Book

In 2007, I decided I wanted to try to do NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month. My fingers were itchy to write, something I hadn’t done seriously since college. My brain needed something to distract itself from the intense desire to conceive that was not being fulfilled at that time.

So I went from crocheting like a maniac to writing like a maniac. (I’ve never gone back to crochet, as much as I love it.) Despite having a rather debilitating car accident on October 30–and not leaving the hospital until Halloween–I had a brand-new laptop with me on the couch on November 1 and started to write my big novel.

I loved pounding out words. I’ve had stories trapped in my head for as long as I can remember; my mom boasts I wrote my first story around age 5 and she was so proud because it had a beginning, middle, and end.

The first tale I tried to spin, however, was not my own. Try as I might, I could not write the novel stemming from my uncle’s dream. The story was fantastic; my point-of-view was not.

So I started again, halfway through the month. I had no qualms that I would actually finish the requisite 50,000 words, but I remember the freeing feeling of sitting in Panera, hacking away on a story that was mine.

My “novel” has about 14,500 words, and I would say 90% of them were written in November 2007. Reading it now, I fear there is too much of me in the main character and too little imagination. Too many real-life people drawn in. I have too little experience being a single adult to write from that perspective (although my sister has lent me a plethora of tales).

I still want to finish it.

Really, I think my true talent is for creative non-fiction: writing what’s happened in real life in an interesting (and in my case, somewhat humorous) way. But my heart yearns to finish a novel. Because that is an accomplishment. Because it’s what I have wanted to do my entire life.

With as much time as I waste online, I should have 10 novels written by now.

Do you have a childhood dream that can’t be stomped? Would you write a book or even try?


4 thoughts on “29 Percent Isn’t Half Bad

  1. I completely get what you mean about create real-life writing. I did finish my nanomo novel last year. Best thing I ever finished even though it took me 6 months. Now, I want to write again and actually make it decent. I hope you find time to finish yours!

  2. I have joined NaNoWriMo every year since probably 2003, I think. I have yet to complete. It is something that I want to do, I just think I lack some critical skills for writing, such as writing too much of myself in and not knowing enough about a specific perspective, much as what you mentioned. I'm a new reader to your blog, and I can tell you that I do definitely see you writing creative non-fiction, and I love it!

  3. Amy–That's awesome!!

    Joanna–Thank you. Maybe next time I'll try writing essays or something. I guess it counts if it's 50,000 words? Just keep writing–practice makes perfect!

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