So, you read that right. I won’t finish my book during NanoWriMo this year. I didn’t cross 50,000 words. Heck, I didn’t cross 13, 000 words. So, given the fact there are just 2 days left in November and that I cannot write 37,000 words in 2 days, by all accounts I failed at my first NaNoWriMo.
It should be a vaguely unsettling feeling, since it’s been a long time since I failed at something. But the interesting bit? I’m not sad and I’ll tell you why.
For one thing, I know that my announcement at the beginning of November was that I was taking a break from blogging in order to complete the book. For the most part, that did happen. How? Well, I had already written about 18,000 words of my book. So, this was a continuation of the same. As of now, the unedited version of my first draft has 30,000 words(give or take). That’s way more than I could have expected back in February, when I began the book, so win #1 is that I wrote more than I’d anticipated.
Second, I realised I have more clarity on how the book must come out now. For all you know, the timing isn’t right and there isn’t a way for me to say everything I need to say in the space of one month. I need more time; win # 2, for what it’s worth.
Third, I loved, nay adored, the energy that came with WriMo. I revelled in waking up early and sprinting with fellow writers, doing it on weekends and holidays, writing even when I felt like giving up and feeling the rush of writing because I can.
So why didn’t I complete the book?
Well, it’s funny but at some point a few epiphanies came my way. I am writing a memoir and for reasons rather complex, they are very difficult to write. It’s a tapestry of your being that you’re putting out there for the world to read and a part of me, a huge part, wants to ensure that it comes out exactly right.
Writing has always been a visceral process and if I cannot find the right words to say what I want, I cannot add to the word count for the day. I don’t find this to be much of a problem when writing fiction, interestingly. There is more liberation and far more flexibility in that mode, I realise.
This is a book which I am writing for reasons beyond just ‘writing a book.’ I’d like it to be the kind of book you’d reach out for when you’re feeling low. It should be something that will resonate with you if you suspect symptoms of depression or bipolar disorder. I’d be overwhelmed if people seek help thanks to the experiences I recount in it.
And that takes a lot out of me. I want it to be just right, just the way I’d reach for a hot bowl of soup, if I had a cold and was snuggled up in bed.
I honestly admire, applaud and am in awe of everyone who’s already completed or on the cusp of finishing NaNo this year, because it is no mean feat. Who knows, maybe I’ll do it next year?
In the meantime, there’s this hope, a spark, that this book will see the light of day when it is ready, when my soul feels at utter peace with having said what I’ve wanted to say. So, all told, there’s definitely more ‘win’ than loss in this edition of NaNoWriMo.
How about you?
Did you attempt Nanowrimo?
Did you finish?
*This month was also very special because I was featured in two interviews. The first was via one of my favourite writing sites, Yeah Write, who honoured me with this piece. Thank you, Arden!
The second was this interview with the White Swan Foundation for Mental Health, who reached out to ask me if I would share my story with them. The memoir will cover those points in greater detail.