Novemberness

I love Novembers. And it’s right around the corner. The chill is paving the grond with the golds and reds that only a short while ago clung so stubbornly to their branches. The sky seems bluer. The air is brisker. The smell of pumpkin pie, and the warmth of an oven. I love fall, don’t you?

Novembers are busy. Birthdays, too many of them, such glorious occasions, late night celebrations the evening before another test or paper or a long gruelling day of classes. Perhaps all the more glorious because of the impeeding doom of a teacher’s red pen. And there’s Thanksgiving, tailing the end of a second volley of midterms and papers, a short, sweet four days of forgetful bliss, soaked in the homesome smells and warmth of the season, studiously ignoring the distant threats of school while catching up with relatives, relatives so dearly loved and so rarely seen. And of course, more pumpking pie! and turkey, stuffing, corn on the cob, mashed potatoes. Oh, even the potatoes seem so much more perfect in that happy season. And the table around which loved ones gather. The adults arguing good-naturedly over theology or politics, the children playing tag among the chairs. But the days are as short as they are beautiful, and too soon we return to the cold college dorms and apartments to buckle down for the final volley of exams, sleepless nights, and a diet of hot coffee with cold florescent lights, before the blessed comfort of Christmas break arrives.

Fall is the smell of fresh-baked pumpking pie between frantic attemtps at school work. Perhaps I’ll toss in another shot at NaNoWriMo, that 50,000-word madness, just to stirr things up a bit.

Post-NaNoWriMo

November has come and gone. It was indeed hectic, sleepless, caffeine-ful, and very, very interesting.

Even if I didn’t finish NaNoWriMo.

I was 40,000 words with 3 days to go. Not impossible. And I was excited about my story – I was intensely curious what back-alleyway it would lead me down next. But I conceded defeat. There were other duties that desperately demanded my attention. If only November were 2 days longer~

I don’t regret not finishing NaNoWriMo. It was more an experiment than an actual goal for me. And I learned quite a few things from this experiment.

  • I can write fast. (A very useful skill for a college students swamped with papers.) It was exhilarating writing one or two thousand words a day, with some semblance of content. It was definitely confidence building. 
  • It is interesting seeing what paths my mind wanders when given free reign and a word goal and a limited amount of time. Let’s see – a growing, vibrant city of extreme wealth and extreme poverty, courtiers who actually care about things beyond court fashion, thieves and assassins who survive by their trade – yet also lend a helping hand to others who struggle with surviving the city, a plague, priestesses, a mad prophetess, a goddess with a grudge, other goddesses – which may not exist. One learns a lot about themselves when writing furiously. I am especially curious as to how I will finally sort our the religious element of the story. So far, my main character is rather fatalistic (his goddess is literally named Fate, even if she may not exist), and eventually he will somehow have to take on a wicked spirit who is spreading the plague… Writing is definitely a process that changes the writer, as much so as the characters.
  • It was great fun! I loved every moment of writing over November. I dived in with no plot, and everything had to happen so quickly, it was an exhilarating ride. I loved just sitting down and typing away for an hour or two. I love delving to the depths of my mind and seeing what I could dredge up. I love seeing a story unfold before my eyes. And I love the obscurity of claiming it as my own.

I may not have finished the 50,00 words, but I definitely learned a lot, much of which I cannot yet quite put into concrete words. I am definitely going to do it next year as well, and my story will definitely progress significantly over Christmas break.

NaNoWriMo

I was in bed Wednesday night, waiting to fall asleep. As I was getting drowsy, I suddenly remembered that the next day was November 1. November. Wasn’t that NaNoWriMo? I’ve had several friends participate in the national novel writing month, in which one attempts to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I never did it. November is a busy month for students. Maybe I’d do it some summer. Or some other year. When, you know, life slows down enough for an ambitious 50,000 word project.

But if I’ve learned one thing in 2 1/2 years of college, it’s that life has a nasty habit of not slowing down. In fact, when you most need a break, it tends to speed up and rush headlong into deadlines you are completely unready for.

And there’s that senior thesis thing that will swollow me whole next year.

So, why not now? If I don’t try it now, I’d never get along to trying it.

And so, welcome to November! And bring on those 50,000 words!