Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Here I am, putting off homework to write a blog again, and yet somehow I'm STILL overdue on my blog deadline. Excuse me if there are no drawings to bless this beautiful post. It was wait an extra week to make the drawings or post this now.

What has put me so behind, you ask? Well, besides the fact that I have a job and I am training for a second one, that I am a part of an aerial student company putting on a 4 performance-run show this weekend (even IF I barely get off the ground for 20 seconds, but that's a rant for another day), I have also been writing a novel for the past 30 days.

It's this thing. This thing called National Novel Writing Month--or NaNoWriMo for cool kids-- and instead of being an obligatory title month like National Donut Month where you don't do anything to celebrate, you actually have to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days to participate. (Although you should eat donuts on National Donut Month because you'd be a fool not to.) That's about 1600 words a day, for those of you struggling with the math. It's really not that much writing, if you are focused.

Ha. Focused.

I've done it for the past 7 years and completed the goal 5 times. That's right. I've written a handful of novels before, so if you thought my AMAZING writing skills were just pulled out of my ass, well...they were. I've just been pulling them out of my ass for a pretty long time, which gives me the appearance of a master puller-of-writing-out-of-my-ass…er.

That's definitely a new one I need to put on my resume.  

This year I won, by some miracle. Now I have shiny new draft of a novel about a boy in the future who meets a toaster head robot to show for it. It's all about their search for toast and the meaning of life in an oddly chipper utopian/utilitarian future. It is for 8 year olds before you get all judge-y. Every time I give that pitch to people they give me this "what the fuck" look, but I promise, it's actually really great. 

Well, it will be. Right now it is a steaming pile of shit. I learned something very important during this round of noveling--something I learned, I'd like to point out, BEFORE my mother made this metaphor to me, which is eerie in a really weird way-- and it is that writing is kind of like diarrhea. It is painful and a little embarrassing while it happens. When it is done you have this awful, smelly pile of shit that you've created, but you can't help but feel better now that it is out.

I talk about poop surprisingly a lot for a 21 year old, but I cannot help but stress that it is because it is the perfect metaphor for everything. Seriously guys, I am starting to think poop is the answer to life.

Eat pasta vegetables, take lots of naps, poop big poops, be happy.

It's my new mantra. 

This novel was definitely a piece of big ol' shit. Everyone keeps asking to read the draft. Even though I enjoy input, there is no frickin' way I'm going to let anyone see this. There are a million things wrong with it that I am already aware of. Giant plot holes. Plants (literally) that never payoff. Random characters that appear once and never come back even though they make themselves seem really important. I had a rebellion-inciting advanced robot that was ready to kill for the cause who tried to convince the main character to join her side and...then she was gone. Bam. Just like that.

 But now that all my first draft writing is done, I'm glad I finally got it out. The story began in my fiction writing class last spring and I put it off for months all summer long. And now it is out there. Complete. And I can go roll around in and rearrange my shit to perfection, taking out old shit and putting new shit in there....Ok. So it isn't the perfect metaphor. 

Along the way, I also experienced and learned a few other things. 

One day, you remember a word, a perfect, brilliant word for what you want to say! It is so exciting.  "Oh yea! Abrupt. Abrupt is such a good word." But then can't stop using it. Suddenly everything does things abruptly, as opposed to suddenly, because 'suddenly' is so ten pages ago. Abrupt takes over your life and eats your soul and there is no escape and your novel is crap and you are a talentless hack. 

You could almost say it happens…abruptly

You start to have other doubts like "Maybe I should have decided who these characters were or where they came from before writing them in so abruptly…" But then the clock is ticking and who really cares if things make sense? Not publishers or readers, that is for sure. 

Then you discover weird little things in your research, like the fact that the word "tater tot" is trademarked. No, tater tots are not a kind of food. Just a brand. Those scrumptious things we eat so lovingly are really only called potato bits or whatever. Mind blowing, right? This noveling thing is completely changing how you view the universe! So abruptly! 

You learn other things about words. For example, "misunderestimate" is not a word. It will never be a word, despite the fact that you have tried to type it at least three separate times in your story. 

One day you name a character "Mr. Yeezus" because you are bored and can't think of anything better and just need to move on. It makes you giggle. Giggling at yourself is the only way to keep writing, you've discovered. Who knows if it makes your work good. Who cares? 

You start writing sentences that are so generic and awful they make your head want to explode. 

"He flashed a toothy grin." 


Then you end up writing sentences that are so weird and inappropriate, you start to wonder if there might be something psychologically wrong with you. 

"But instead of shooting Todd or whipping out a knife and stabbing Todd or eating Todd's eyeballs out with sharp, pointed teeth…"
(Did I mention this is a kids book?)
There definitely, is, by the way. Something psychologically wrong with you. You were yelling at your computer screen for something you wrote. If you have to project on your poor, hardworking computer like that, well, you might consider couples therapy. 
And now you are talking about yourself in the second person to an internet full of strangers. 
So now I am here, finished but still writing and only a little bit delusional, partly because I spent the last 5 hours staring at a screen trying to research christianity and the necessary integration of animation and music simultaneously listening to Business Time by Flight of the Conchords and Charlie Chaplin music on a continuous repeat without getting up. But I finished it. I DID IT. I WROTE A THING. NOW I'M DONE. 
Well. I'm not. But for now. 

I only put all five winner banners on there because I am just the tiniest bit proud. 


  1. Congratulations! It looks like we both wrote a thing and finished a big project today. Feels good, no? Are you wondering what I'm wondering? What's next. BTW, how do you win NaNoWriMo? Do you win because you complete the challenge or is there more to it? Just curious.

  2. Congrats! I have a lot of book blogging friends who do NaNo every year, and one of them actually got her first novel published this fall! As I told Viv earlier, I am incredibly impressed with anyone who finishes a challenge like this, because I'm more of the type where, the second I decide that I "have to" do something, I lose all desire to follow through..

    And I don't think your novel sounds weird at all. Pretty sure the eight-year-old I nanny for would love a story about a toaster-head robot!