As many of you know (or might have guessed by the badge on my blog), I participated in the NaNoWriMo challenge this year. I started writing on November 1, stopped writing on November 30, and somehow (don’t ask me how), I managed to produce a little over 50 thousand words. *cue party music*
Here’s the thing, though.
Since I’ve started this blog I have discovered something about myself: It’s not enough just to write. I want someone to READ what I’ve written. I want a reaction–and it doesn’t matter what kind, either. Positive, negative, just plain weird…I covet them all.
I have other creative outlets. I crochet. I will knit under duress. I sew very occasionally. I can embroider and do counted cross stitch. I love to take photographs.
But in none of these endeavors do I crave the viewpoint of anyone else. I am happy to finish a project and send it off without another thought. Exclamations of appreciation are nice, but not essential.
Not so with my writing. An audience (appreciative or otherwise), is vital to my process.
This has proven to be a challenge in regards to NaNoWriMo. For the first time I have produced what might be considered a “novel.” (In fact, it is a novel, albeit one that is a few chapters short of resolution.) But, if I want to follow what I consider to be a natural progression toward actual publication (coming to a bookstore near you!), I can’t post it here, on my blog.
Since I can’t post it here, I am forced to turn to the captive audience authors have relied on since the first hieroglyph was carved into a cave wall: family and friends. Unfortunately, it is turning out to be surprisingly difficult to find friends or family willing to read a 30-35 chapter novel (roughly the length of the average romance). I strongly suspect this reluctance stems from the fear that what I’ve written will be absolute crap, and they’ll have to find something positive to say about it.
Point in fact, none of my family or friends have read it, although not through lack of trying on my part. Which means that the only feedback I’ve gotten from this point is from my poor, long-suffering husband…and he wants to keep his eyebrows badly enough that his objectivity may be questionable.
There has been a tiny break in the clouds, however! Tonight was the wrap party for our local group of NaNoWriMo participants. We brought excerpts from our novels and read them over dinner and a fair amount of laughter. I was able to read the prologue to my novel, and hear what others have written.
For that moment…brief, and fraught with the tension of an extreme dislike for public speaking…my novel enjoyed a taste of freedom.
It was enough. For now.
I can go back and finish those last couple of chapters, in which my plucky heroine successfully hosts Thanksgiving dinner for friends without burning down her house, resolves her issues with her family (maybe), ends world hunger, and brings about world peace. Well, the first two, anyway!