Have I Written Enough Yet?
My ongoing relationship with National Novel Writing Month.
by Rebecca Lynn Aulph
Writing a National Novel Writing Month novel is like starting a new relationship, speed-dating-style. For me, the first week represented the honeymoon period. I had started an ongoing relationship with my crush, a novel of which I had already written three chapters. I couldn’t wait to wake up and write, I couldn’t go to bed without writing first, and I dreamed of unwritten chapters.
Second week, my novel and I had our first fight. On Election Day, since neither my real boyfriend nor I had to work – an occurrence as rare as a solar eclipse – we spent the whole day together. We met friends for breakfast at Thumbs Up, had holiday lattes at Starbucks and a browse through Little Shop of Stories. Later, and alone, we ventured to Atlantic Station, not to be confused with Atlantic City, where we tried to find a sweater to suit my second week as a writer. They were all too itchy, so we sneaked popcorn into the movie theater and watched “Wreck it Ralph” instead. By the time we left the show, the quick burrito place had closed shop, so we ate at a sit-down restaurant. To keep this blog short, we didn’t get home until 11:00 at night, and I still needed to produce around 1,300 words before the clock struck midnight. That sums up the first night I turned into a pumpkin and caught a cold.
Clearly, my novel resented the time I spent cheating on it, and my body took its side, even though I was trying to buy both of them a woolly gift. Soon, I felt stuck in relationship to my novel. I couldn’t figure out what to write next because I had already written beyond what I originally outlined, and the novel started showing different sides of itself with each additional word I wrote. After attending two book clubs and discussing other works, I had less time to write and more insecurity about writing something so young. Yet, I decided to wait until after the halfway mark, day 15, to break down. But I never did.
Now, I am spending Thanksgiving break with my novel to rekindle our romance. I’ve been walking away from it when I get frustrated, instead of writing something I regret and not being able to take it back. Plus, I’ve been spending more quality time with it in my pajamas. Even though I’ve only been writing it officially for a little over two weeks, I am already contemplating my novel’s future as a published work with my name on it. There will be revising ahead, but I’ll always have my real, long-term boyfriend.
Won’t You Be Mine Cardigan, $79.99 from ModCloth.