NaNoWriMo-ing 2015 Part I: Heavy Words

NaNoWriMo has just started and I already feel like it's gonna be a tough one. Granted I only really have one other experience to go off of, but in comparison, it's already a bit more difficult. Last NaNo, I went into writing having a very detailed outline of the first 1/4 of my novel and a vague outline of the rest, but not much insight into my characters. This time I know my characters better than anything, yet writing this story felt heavier.  

Has writing ever felt that way to you before? Like every word is hard to come by and somehow each syllable costs you something? It's the strangest sensation for me. I'm so use to stories just flowing organically without having to think too much. But now I feel like I'm overthinking it because I'm so connected to these characters. Like I'm afraid to, I don't know, not do them justice? Please tell me I'm not the only one who's ever felt this way. 

As it's only day two, I don't have much progress or thoughts to share, so I wanted to do Kristina Horner's NaNoWriMo tag instead.

How many times have you done NaNoWriMo?

This is only my second time. Eeep! But I've known about it for a while.  

How did you first find out about NaNoWriMo?

I overheard someone in the student community center during my senior year of college (2009-2010) say she was glad she finished NaNoWriMo, and I looked it up. I remember thinking "I want to do that." But then grad school was not having it so I put it on the back burner for a while. 

What was the name of your first NaNo novel?

Last year's novel is named 'Omission'. I love her very much.   

Give us a 1 sentence summary of what you're writing this year.

Because I'm kinda pants-ing this NaNo novel, this is difficult to come up with. For now I'll say: Two hires, multiple encoded letters, and one dangerous secret.  

What's the best writing advice you've ever been given?

Probably Ernest Hemingway's encouraging quote - "The first draft of anything is shit" - because I always think my writing is so terrible and find it hard to turn my inner editor off.  

Did you ever take a year off from NaNo? Why?

Well, technically you could say my first year. The November after I graduated grad school I was going to participate but I felt so drained after a summer of studying and couldn't think of a story to pursue in time.  

What's your biggest inspiration when figuring out what to write?

I know it such a cop out answer but... everything. I'm always looking deeper into things, into music, into people. This year's NaNo novel, Letters of Love and Betrayal, came from imagining a gym buddy that was so badass he demanded his own story. There's another story I've got brewing because of something I overheard a homeless man say. And Omission sprouted from a "finish this sentence" writing prompt. Someone once said that I don't see buildings and people, I see stories. They might have been right. 

Read us the first sentence from one of your novels. 

I'll do you one better - Omission Paragraph one:  

From the trunk, each speed bump is less bearable than the last. Had he been driving faster it wouldn't have been so bad, but at this incredibly slow speed, each bump leaves a rush of nausea in its wake. I can't brace myself for it, which makes the jostling ten times worse. Each bump sends my head bouncing around between a guitar case and a pair of snow boots. The weight of the spare tire on the back of the Wrangler drives the hatch of the truck into my knee. He hasn't slammed it shut tight enough; he'd used his left hand while he held me in the trunk with the other. So this is it, huh?, I think as I gaze at the stars through the back window. Moments later, a bump sends my head flying into the upturned end of a ski and I stomp on the side of the car in frustration.

Why do you love writing?

I feel like this is a terrible question to ask a writer. We're wordy, we could go on about why we love words for ever. Yet strangely enough, I personally find it hardest to articulate what I feel about writing. That's probably one of my favorite things about it: that it's not always the easiest process but the most rewarding. I'm very opinionated and I find writing allows me to express myself and get a point across through fictional scenarios. Sometimes, I love being able to write the story how it should have happened, if that makes sense. And, throughout my life, specifically a rather lonely childhood, writing and reading was the one constant companion, and I like the idea of creating something that could so the same for another. 

"It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them." 

~ Clockwork Prince (The Infernal Devices) by Cassandra Clare


If it all (meaning NaNoWriMo) seems incredibly daunting, well, it is. Writing 50K in 30 days sounds like a good idea, and in many ways it is. But it's also crazy. You can do it though, person who slogs through my excessively long posts (I got love for ya, girl!). If you need proof, check out my lesson of NaNoWriMo from last year. I will say that with NaNoWriMo mainlining all of my writing mojo, I'm not sure how often I'll be showing up here. Between the drafts I've got and NaNo-related posts, I hope to visit 2x a week though. In the meantime, tune into my Instagram account where I'll be posting inspiration writing stuffs daily(ish) like I did last year. 

If you're participating in NaNo, tell me about what you're working on in the comments below. Even if you aren't, tell me if you've ever felt the same about writing, like words are harder to get out?