I have a notebook full or writing quotes… somewhere. I moved just over a year ago, and while I’m sure I’ve seen it since the move – for the life of me I can’t remember where I put it, or where it might be.
Nevermind – I have a record of most of them somewhere else – in the first story I wrote for Nanowrimo. So I dug out the story, and had a flick through.
On the 1 November 2008, I was enjoying a weekend away with friends. I had a 2 year old, and a 6 month old, and so it had been a while since I caught up properly with them all. When they invited us along I couldn’t say no – we would have our own dorm room, making it easier to have the kids, and it was going to be a blast. I was going. Even though I had signed up for the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, starting the 1 November.
So mid afternoon on that 1st November, found me huddled away in our room. It was the kids nap time, and they had gone down easily enough. I knew that this was the only chance I would have to get any writing done. So I pulled out my notepad and started to write.
I had no plans for that Nano. I always thought I was a ‘pantser’, a term used in Nanospeak for one who does not plan but just sits down and writes (though Nano has since taught me that I write better if I plan). So I picked up my pen and paper, and I began a story, about a girl who was doing Nanowrimo, and had no idea of hte story she was going to write. I wasn’t completely unimaginative – in my story you had to prove you were worthy to enter Nano, and it was a competition with prize money for the successful entrant. It was also held at a bush retreat (a large bush retreat), where the competitors all went and lived at for the month. They had no other responsibilities, but to write. They had at their service a massive library, writing assistants (mostly to ensure they were coping well – not to help with writing). The challenge was doubled. In my story they had to write 100,000 words in the month, something I thought would be challenging enough, even though they did have all day to write. All their meals were cooked for them, their washing was done. Their only responsibility was to turn up at meal times, and at the regular nightly social things- pep talks where the authors came to speak, and sold signed copies of their books to the participants at greatly reduced prices.
Talk about a dream. But anyway, I digress. That first day of Nano I hand wrote my 1667 words, and I did the same thing the next day. The following day I was home, and I continued writing my story, only typing up my hand written work when I had completed that days word goal.
As my main character struggled to find her story, all the while ignoring the one begging to be written, she wanders the halls of the Nano Building, finding quotes and other sources of inspiration hidden in the pictures the decorate the walls.
When my main character found her story, I found mine. Her dreams linked her to the past; her ancestors story begged to be told and finally she allowed the story to flow through her.
I won Nanowrimo that first year with a story that was 50,766 words. After some editing it reduced to 44,787 words. Until I picked it up just recently I had not looked at it since that first edit. I had dismissed it as no good. But when I re read it the other day, I found that it was alright after all. That there was potential there – something that could be salvaged, if ever I got around to it.
It’s nice, to read over something written years ago and find it’s actually not so bad.