I’ll start by saying that I got the redundancy. And that after it had fully sunk in and now that the dramatic dust has settled, I feel good about it. Positive in fact. Excited even.
Because I get three full months off, all to myself whilst still getting paid. It’s a pretty sweet deal and it means that not only can I concentrate on preparing and attending Teacher Training interviews and get ready for my upcoming wedding, but I can also, write. Like really truly write, treat it like a full time job kind of writing. Because let’s face it, I’m essentially being paid to tap, tap, tap away at this little macbook of mine for the next three months, aren’t I? And it would be rude not to. Every cloud eh?!
And although I feel like I’m about to fall asleep (this Starbucks skinny capp is not doing it’s job very well at all), I’m determined to give writing this book another go, starting today, because today is the first day in November and that’s when NANOWRIMO begins. Today. Right now.
So I’d better get a wriggle on.
Having attempted National Novel Writing Month last year, I know what it’s all about. I have first hand experience. And it is the opposite of fun or dreamy, let me tell you. It was hard and demanding and frustrating, to the point where I wanted to lob my laptop at the wall because the words I’d written sounded so silly and insignificant at times.
Conscious that November was fast approching, I spent the majority of my Sunday afternoon flicking through a BuzzFeed list entitled 33 Authors Gave Us Their Best Advice On Writing, searching desperately for some startling inspiration that will spur me on with my love-hate relationship with the book I’m trying to pen. True to form the BuzzFeed list was amazing and amongst the vast wad of inspiring advice, I stumbled across an author’s name that I actually knew. Personally. Not just because I’ve read her series but mainly because we used to work at the same publishing house, a few years ago now.
I remember when I first learned that she was a writer. I was emptying my bladder on a Friday evening and bumped into her in the toilets. Not literally but our eyes met in the mirror as we washed our hands in the communal sink. I was quite new at the time, but we made conversation about our weekend plans and that’s when I learned about her love of writing. She told me she was going on a writing retreat that weekend, with her agent.
I remember thinking wow, that sounds ideal. And from then on we become work friends and we used to go for lunch together with a few other colleagues and the pub after work most Fridays. We used to send emails back and forth with our other work friend Elizabeth and then one day she announced that she had a publishing deal. With Random House. And I remember being serioulsy impressed and so happy and proud of her. And now she’s a bestselling author, appearing on TV and in newspapers and BuzzFeed lists, and attending her own events and signings. And seeing her sound advice on Sunday gave me a new lift and buzz of hope because maybe I can do this. If someone, I know can acheive her dream, then why can’t I? Her huge success gives me hope, it feels like it adds a dimension of possibility to my own ambition. Getting published doesn’t seem so far removed anymore because someone I know, like and respect has acheived it. I think she’s on her fourth or fifth book by now, she’s a full time professional author. She’s made it.
And her advice made it clear that the first draft of any book is essentially hideous and that it’s ok because that is truly as bad as your book will ever be. It can only get better with more rewriting and editing and reading. Cheers Robin, that was just the nugget of wisdom I needed!
I wrote a shockingly ugly first draft last November, I hated almost every word and haven’t looked at it since. But that doesn’t make me a bad writer. In fact, if anything it makes me an actual, real writer because I wrote every day for 30 days straight. I wrote those 50,000 plus words. I practised and committed to my craft.
And I’ll do it again this month, this year. Because I will write a book, even if it kills me. And what better time then now, when the rest of the world is writing one with me.
If you too are jumping on the NANOWRIMO band wagon, then I wish you all the best.
Keep going, keep writing, even if you’re panting and rasping for breath and your head feels like it might explode, do not stop until you reach the end. Do not look back over the words you’ve already written, do not even turn your head. Just keep on typing and forming the ones yet to litter the page.