Ladies, gentlemen, and everyone in between, I would like to announce to you that I am not dead, nor have I gotten bored with the decidedly unglamorous life of a freelance blogger. In truth, it’s quite the opposite! NaNoWriMo, however, has been taking up the majority of my time. Since I started a full 10 days late due to catastrophic hard drive failure, I’m having to write extra fast and hard (giggity) to ensure that I finish by the deadline. I’ve already managed to bust the 25,000 word mark, a.k.a. the halfway point, like a cheerleader on prom night. If that simile has not completely offended you, I’d like to also point out that it’s not too late to sponsor my novel with a donation to the Office of Letters and Light! I’ve also finally got an excerpt up for the curious among you to sample.
I definitely don’t regret entering NaNoWriMo. I’ve been hearing about it for years, and it’s been a dream of mine to be able to dedicate myself to finishing an entire novel. But I think I may have slightly underestimated the challenge when I signed up. I’m obnoxiously talkative, to be sure, but 50,000 words? That’s tough, even for me. There are days when I really just want to lay in bed and watch Netflix all day instead of doing the responsible author thing and actually writing. At least in this first draft, you can tell when those days are, because the parts written during severe cases of lazyassholitis (it’s a real disease, I looked it up) are rough, rough, rough. Turning off my inner editor, who keeps insisting that if I don’t go back and fix it I’ll be no better than Stephenie Meyer, is no easy task. Yet my oftentimes irrational refusal to give up on being able to dance around in the proverbial winner’s circle allows me to power through. The key to winning NaNoWriMo is not necessarily talent. It’s the ability to be stubborn as all Hell, even in the face of the death of your social life or possibly your sanity.
And anyway, my resume for Blizzard is woefully thin. If I can finish this, I can add “NaNoWriMo Winner for 2012” to the list, and hopefully be able to actually publish the novel.
Oh yeah, the social life. I used to have one. Not this month, though! I keep getting concerned texts and emails from friends seeing if I’m okay, because they haven’t heard from me in a while. “When are we going to get to see you?” they ask. The answer, guys, is probably December, assuming I don’t develop an aneurysm by then. I’m not being cold-hearted, either. Every time I get a request to hang out, I make grabby hands at whatever screen I happen to be reading it off of and weep. Writing a novel, at least in such a condensed time frame, is basically like a 30-day free trial of agoraphobia. The special bonus challenge level is going to hit this Wednesday, when The Fiance returns to my part of town just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s times like this that I wish I were Canadian so I could have gotten the threat of holiday-induced slackerdom out of the way like two months ago. Three months. I don’t know, whenever you weird mountie people celebrate your bizzaro-world holidays, like Boxing Day.
In general, I’m starting to understand why Edgar Allan Poe and so many other authors drank themselves to death or died poor and crazy. The stress of looming deadlines, the isolation, the constant second-guessing of yourself and pressure to, you know, not completely suck — it’s a lot to have on your plate, especially when you’re trying to juggle other aspects of your life at the same time. And freelance writing in general doesn’t really pay a lot, or steadily, unless you get extremely lucky or have a great self-marketing strategy. What time I’m not spending on the novel itself is being devoted to promoting myself on various social media outlets and just trying to get the word out that hey, I can write, you guys, and I’d also like it if you threw dollar bills at me like some kind of linguistic stripper for doing it. All in all, I have just enough time to eat, spend an hour or two to myself, and fall asleep so that I can experience some of the weirdest dreams I’ve ever had thanks to constantly using the creative parts of my brain. I had one where I got hired for the game design team at Blizzard and my clothes got ruined on the way to my first day of work, so I showed up in a toga made out of a Star Wars blanket while trying to avoid my boss so that he wouldn’t think I was being unprofessional. I’m also eating like crap — quick meals devoured at the speed of light so that I can get back to writing. On top of all that, I have managed to give myself the worst lower back spasms in the world from spending all day sitting at my desk tapping away at my keyboard. People assume that I’ve messed up my back while working out or doing something productive. The look on their faces is priceless when I tell them “No no no, you see, I’m a writer…”
And I wouldn’t change a damn thing for the world. Writing is still my passion. It is the first thing I have done, the first “job” I’ve had, even if it is, right now, on an “on my own” type of basis, where I’ve worked unreasonably long hours and had to overcome ridiculously tall hurdles and I haven’t wanted to give up. For all the self-abuse that being a writer hurls at me, the dirty looks from people who think that writing isn’t a real career or consider me to be a starving artist (I totally would be without all of those Hot Pockets and fast food tacos), the slow months where I find myself looking through all of my stuff figuring out what I can sell or pawn to make ends meet, it is still completely worth it, at least in my world. I stand tall and proud as I walk down the street. I tell everyone I talk to about the novel I’m writing, or my aspirations to be a game designer. When they tell me “Bunny, you’re never going to make it,” I tell them that not making it is not an option for me.
If you’re a writer reading this, allow me to grab you by the shoulders and shake you like a British nanny while I implore you to never, ever give up. If it’s truly your dream, if you’re ready to dedicate yourself to a lot of lonely nights and a lot of ramen noodles, you will succeed. I’m there with you in spirit, probably ghost-tripping over all the shit you’ve got laying out in the middle of the living room floor (seriously, how old are you, 10? Clean it up before you kill someone). Solidarity fistbumps all around.