Nope, I didn’t do it.
Even the Struggling Writer ceased his struggling and did it.
A 50,000 word novel in thirty very busy days. Broken down, that’s about 1,670 words, or about 5-1/2 double-spaced pages of prose, per day.
Impossible, I cry. And yet as of this morning, 1,643,343,993 words had been written and submitted by NaNoWriMo participants.
I’ve done my share of fiction writing, mostly short stories for various writing classes, or pieces written and posted here at The Cheek. But a novel?! Hell, no. Nothing even close. Not that I’m short on ideas. I’ve got a million of ’em, all funky and fermenting in a carafe somewhere in the chilly, nethermost corner of my mind, abandoned behind all the school work and the work work and the daddy work and the husband work and the paying-the-bills work. Or, to borrow an image from author and creative writing professor Heather Sellers, my ideas are like a bunch of perfect roses turned to ash; I know they are beautiful, so I lock them away for safe keeping – awaiting the perfect time to flesh them out and commit them to paper – only to discover that they have returned to dust when I go to smell them again. She writes, “It’s comfortable, satisfying, and fear-reducing, like a baby pacifier, to have ideas for books. Book ideas are reassuring and interesting, like imaginary friends.”
I am jolted by the realization that so much of my life has been nothing more than a bunch of ideas. And as philosopher David Hume suggests, ideas aren’t things; they are merely “a perception of the mind which involves thinking of something instead of actually (first hand) experiencing it.”
There is much to chew on here, but the clock is ticking and finals week is swiftly approaching – and experience that I will. Even as a harbor a greenish tinge of envy toward those who are not only smelling the roses, but replanting and watering them with pen and ink.
I tip one of my many hats to those of you who are doing the work of writing . . .