Over November, I participated in a unique literary experiment known as NaNoWriMo (http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/user/763624). The purpose of National Novel Writing Month is to hunker down, sweat your brains out, and hammer out a fifty-thousand word novel within thirty days. Starting three days after the start date, I got going late and slow. Plodding along at a thousand words a day, the final week of November was filled with my ass cramping in the seat of a folding chair, typing like crazy, gulping coffee, and feeling my fingertips numbing as they thumped against the keys. In hindsight, I really should have incorporated showers into that week at some point.
Rankness aside, I finished my entry with fourteen minutes to spare, Central time, after typing nineteen-thousand words within twelve hours on that fateful, final day. Final word count: 51,122.
After a quick moment to let my back scream from sitting down all day, I allowed myself to indulge in the usual rush that comes with beating a deadline: I grinned like a goober, chided myself for always waiting ’til the last minute to finish a paper…
…and then my girlfriend kissed me, congratulated me, and said something that really sank in:
“I’m dating a writer!”
Up to that point, her congrats simply fueled the short-term excitement of a personal victory. But then she said writer, and a sneaky little realization snuck into my brain.
I hadn’t just met a deadline. I’d written a novel. A choppy, word-padded, vaguely flatulent novel, but a finished one anyway.
Sure, y’know, some characters didn’t keep the same name through the whole thing, some early setups were ignored without being excised later on, and the novel didn’t end so much as stopped because I just didn’t want to type anymore, but pfft, whatevs. I gots me a book, son!
And…not much else.
Sure, there’s the satisfaction of having finally forged a tome that expresses my creative side in an external way, the feeling of accomplishment that I-can-do-this, the yadda-yadda-yadda.
I got nothin’. Not really. And if you say otherwise, then, sadly, you’re wrong. You are. Sorry, but my tune isn’t going to change anytime soon.
I get it, guys, I get the other arguments. I really do. But having dreams of being a writer means making a life out of doing it, not doing it out of spite for what you do in life. And, really, what I want to do is take my stuff as far as I can.
Creatively, expressively, professionally.
Can…c-can I do that?
Okay, so I have a rough draft. I know that much. I have it proofread, so there’s that too. No editing yet, no revisions, just one spell checked pile of crap that, somehow, I have to polish.
Alright. Alright, I can do this. I can totally do this.
I’ll have to draw up a list, I guess. Help me prioritize this (read as: get my lazy, doughy self in the habit of keeping a work ethic):
- Agent hunting.
And somewhere in there, hopefully, a sale. Maybe with an actual check attached. Or at least some valid form of foreign currency.
So here goes. I’m going to do my best to get this thing moving, as much as is in my power to move a real book. I’ll work on other things on the side, but by God, this will be priority #1.
The book: Finer Points. The goal: a sale.
The dream, a career.
The boy, a loser.
So I will keep this. A log of my efforts, to share with others, and to welcome tips, criticism, help, and to seek attention, both amateur and professional, to my efforts. Make this effort as widely known as my feeble resources are capable of.
World, this dumb boy’s got a book, and he wants somebody to publish it.
Check with me as often as you want. I’ll update anything relevant, share my frustrations, talk about anything related to my literary efforts and interests, and generally act like an ass who wants to be seen as an artist.
And hopefully, mixed in with all the junk, we’ll find something shiny in the trash pile.
Alright. Knuckles cracked, shoulders stretched, word processor glowing blankly. Time to get to work.
As soon as I finish “Dexter.”
– Sean Ganus