NaNoWriMo: The Love and Hate I Have For You

          Since 2014 I've known about National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo. However, it wasn't until November of 2016 did I participate in my first. And Boy-oh-Boy! I was... Ready and yet not at all.
A meme you can get behind
           During this time in my life, I was in my senior year of high school finishing all the things I needed to before January when all my last finals of high school would be. Of course, under all this stress, your's truly, decides; "Hey, you know what you need in your already stressful life? More stress! Let's do this thing!"
       SO like a total dolt, I did. And it was stressful. It was draining. It made me hate my writing. Yet, I am so happy I participated. NaNo started me on my journey of writing Buzzcut Season in full. In late September 2016, after listening to this song for the one-hundredth time a light bulb went off and I had this weird daydream of this girl in the 1970s during the Vietnam War. I wrote the daydream down as a short story. Which eventually became the groundworks for Buzzcut Season.
The days after I made this were pretty dark
           If you want to see my process of my first NaNo you can view it here. As you can see I couldn't even keep up with the updates! I did end up writing 51,007 words that month. (Yay!) Though it nearly killed me. Mostly due to keeping up with school, how the extra stress didn't help my autoimmune disorder, and how real-life events really deterred me from writing the story I had wanted as shown in my Day 9 Post. There's this weird drudgery that falls over me during NaNo that I have a hard time explaining and also making sense of. You see, writing every day isn't a problem for me. I've done so since at least 2015. It might be the added pressure or the you-have-to-reach-1,667-words-today-or-you're-nothing mindset I fall into during the month. When I figure it out I'll let you know.
           So after the month was over I shoved Buzzcut Season away till April 2017.
           During this time I finished my first version of my first novel (now known as Behind Stone Kings), graduated high school, edited my first novel, and started querying my first novel. A lot had changed in my personal life. A lot had changed in the rest of world as well. It was an especially eerie and almost hopeless time to an extent for me. I watched as the ideas I had written in private over a desolate hellscape started to become a reality. I watched as the same ideas weren't looked at as big old flashing warning shots and instead were seemingly ignored by those who should know better. Everyone didn't seem to care. It was truly off-putting to me personally and creatively.
         Then I heard whispers of Camp NaNoWriMo running around Twitter. I looked over my abandoned and too close to home WIP at that time. It wasn't a bad idea after all. Perhaps I could get out all the worries I had for the world and put them into something better, something that could possibly benefit me, if not in the future at least it could be a positive outlet for me. So, again, like a dolt, I opened up Buzzcut Season on April 1, 2017, and began writing.
             And the story wasn't as bad as I had made it out to be in my head.
            In fact, I could work with this. Throughout April I was able to come up with new ideas and found foreshadowing that I had never intended there to be. It all started coming together. Then came April 27. At the end of the month, my mom had planned a rescue mission for my estranged father and his dog (no this isn't a Whose Line Is It Anyway prompt, it actually happened.) We were to leave for Rolla, Missouri on the 27th. So while traveling across Montana, through South Dakota, and down to Missouri I was finishing up the last four days of Camp Nano in hotel rooms at 9 at night and hopping tornado and flood would come down and kill my family. (What a time though. I should probably write about that trip because it was a trip.)

A post shared by Carly Jyll (@carlyjyll) on
           This was taken after surviving the floods and tornados and the rescuing of estranged father's. Those are the faces of two extremely exhausted women trying to enjoy their time before having two family reunions to attend. 🙃🙃🙃 It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. 
            When May 1st came around I put away my WIP once again, sick and tired of Buzzcut Season and how it kept mirroring our current government even though that was never the intention. So I went to work on another project (the sequel to Behind Stone Kings) while garnering more and more rejections from agents on Behind Stone Kings. It was sometime in July when Camp NaNoWriMo was happening again when I decided to just go for it and finish Buzzcut Season. And on August 3, 2017, I did. I couldn't be more ecstatic with how the story turned out! I even started querying it on October 25, 2017, after editing it and having readers look at it. 
           Then NaNoWriMo 2017 approached.
           I had such a difficult time during NaNo 2016 and Camp NaNo 2017, you'd think a wiser woman would have said, "No, this isn't for me." LOL, me being wise. Cute. 
           On November 1, 2017, I started NaNoWriMo, this time with the sequel to Buzzcut Season, Caught In The Grey. At this point, I had, sadly, gotten used to the political climate matching and echoing the own that I had built in my stories so they weren't too much of a distraction even though they were constantly present. Now instead of politics and hearing about yet another mass shooting (the fact I can write that sentence with no hint of a hyperbole is honestly horrifying) in my own life ("Yet, another query rejection?!") things seemed quite insignificant. At the time, however, they were just the sprinkles of devastation on this increasingly bleak world.
            I don't know exactly what it is about NaNo where, in theory, it sounds great but once I'm on day five my brain is already fried, or so it seems. Maybe it's just the matter of what I'm writing and how it's being mirrored in real life. I'm sure if I was working on another project less connected to our real world I wouldn't be so Eeyore about November. I mean you can see a hint of it on my Twitter timeline (trust me I'm much worse in person during NaNo, and I'm so sorry to anyone who has to witness it.)
            I constantly feel like I'm Jasmine stuck in that hourglass when it comes to my life so I'm more often than not stuck in the stage above. However, I did end up completely Nano 2017!

           Weirdly, thanks to the tweet above I got a reply from the official NaNoWriMo twitter and got an outpouring of beautiful positivity and people saying they felt the same way. I know personally, I've always been one to not speak out about how I'm really feeling (that's one of the reasons I got into writing so I could have an outlet). In my growing up years outside of my mom, if I said how I was feeling I'd be reassured that, "Yeah, you should feel that way, you're worse than scum." So to have complete strangers be so nice to me was really overwhelming and totally unexpected. Though it let me see the magic in the writing community that I had always heard about but was too scared to reach out for.

            Taking all of this into consideration I'm actually looking forward to Camp NaNo 2018. Having that flood of positivity really did something for me personally. Since then I've gotten to know a number of writers between Twitter and Tumblr and I even got to be a beta reader for someone! So as much as I grumble and complain about NaNoWriMo, it really has changed my life and perspective on my writing. I wouldn't know how to write a book properly without going through Nano 2016. I wouldn't have realized that Behind Stone Kings wasn't ready to be published, that's why it was getting rejected, and that I had to rewrite the entire thing if I wanted it to be.
            I wouldn't have pushed on to finish Buzzcut Season if it weren't for Camp NaNo 2017. If it weren't for NaNo 2017 I wouldn't have become more active in the community. I wouldn't have taken a giant leap and created this website.
           Owing all this to NaNo, I'm giving you another shot this April fully expecting to be worn out by May 1st. Luckily, I'm not going on any insane adventures with baby boomers at the end of the month (this time it's at the end of May 😜). I'll update you at the end of the month with another post and maybe even a sneak peek.
            Thank you NaNoWriMo for kicking my butt into gear, hopefully, I can still be a proud little bear at the end of April 2018 as I was at the end of November 2017. 
           Good luck to anyone else dusting off their WIP's and hoping to finish them this month!


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