Just hit 57,100 words on my book and wrote the most difficult scene I have ever written. Writing is sometimes like opening a wound. It’s painful, but the only way to get the words out is to lay open your soul and force yourself to look at it. You become so invested in these characters and this world you invented that it seems more real than your own. You feel their pain, their hurt and their joys more profoundly sometimes than your own. Still, I can’t imagine doing anything else, and don’t know how I gave it up for as long as I did. I think I might take tomorrow off from writing though. I don’t want to lose momentum, but sometimes the emotion can be so strong it’s frightening.
It has been a long time since I’ve been this invested in my work. I’ve written some short stories in the past couple years that I’m pretty proud of, but this is the first novel I’ve carried on past the beginning in quite a long time. It has been an eye opening few weeks for me. I’ve had this story in my head for about a year, and had played with it once or twice, but wasn’t even sure if I could make it work. When I decided to use the idea for my NaNo novel, I started from scratch, made a rough outline and wished myself luck. This book has taken quite a few unexpected turns along the way, and the more immersed I become in the story, the more I am reminded that a writer is what I am and a writer is what I will always be.
When I look back over this process and what I have learned about myself this November, I will always be thankful that there is such a thing as National Novel Writing Month. People love it or hate it for different reasons, but for me, it has been a freeing experience. Without my “inner editor” breathing down my neck I have allowed myself to do nothing but get caught up in the momentum of my story and the lives of my characters. I have been able to write in a way I have not written in many years — without fear, without worry. I’ve never written a first draft in the heat of the moment. I’ve always analyzed it to death, fussed over each paragraph, and for me, and I know it works for others, but for me, it never allowed me to enter that place where I felt the story was a part of me. That is how I feel now. This story is alive and breathing, and it has consumed me, and even though it’s painful and draining, it is still one of the greatest joys I’ve known.
Tonight I am grateful to call myself a writer. I’m not aspiring. I am.
What are your thoughts on writing? Pain or Joy? Both? Please share your thoughts — comments are welcome!