And so, I’m ‘doing’ NaNoWriMo this year. We have always had a strange relationship. Past attempts have seen me bang out 20,000 words and then well, edit them. Note to self and others: Don’t. Do. That. I have a penchant for abandoning projects in favour of others which I think ‘sound better’, and I don’t finish anything. Except really short stories or ‘novel excerpts’. Novel excerpts are short stories that wouldn’t shut up.
See, I don’t like writing that sounds like writing. The minute I’m aware of words on the page, I stop and write another scene playing out in my head. I have a lot of computer files and notebooks and thoughts. Most are non-sequential. Really. Try having a conversation with me.
This year, I promised myself, and Sarge, and my Dad that I would see one single novel to the end of its first draft. Because everyone is fed up with the frustrated writer. I’d just love to be a writer.
First, I said I’d hit 2k a day. Not so much. Then, because my brain goes faster than my typing speed, I thought I’d dictate the thing. Not so much. Last week, I just parked it and started typing. And the phone rang.
It was my Dad. And this was the conversation:
Dad: You may be interested to know I am writing a novel. (That’s how my Dad speaks. I kinda love it.)
Me: Really? Cool!
(He tells me about his novel…)
Me: Really? Cool! (Inside: Aw, shit. Really? For real, really? I know we’re psychically linked, but this is like, ridiculous…this whole line of thought took 5 seconds. I told you my brain works fast.) Well, Daddy, you’re not gonna believe this, but…(I share my plot.)
Dad: Oh. Well. Every book is different. Good luck! (I’m paraphrasing. Or something.)
I couldn’t write any more that afternoon. Because my mother called.
And when Sarge arrived home I was writing in actual notebook.
I told him about the conversations with my parents. And then the plot of my book.
‘Oh. That’s basically your Dad’s book. But not.’
‘This is what I’m saying,’ I said
‘Well. Every book is different.’
‘That’s what he said.’
‘Would you be upset if your Dad finished his book before you finished yours?’
‘No, I’d be happy. Having said that, shut your pretty mouth.’
What I have now is a book that sits at 5,861 words. I also have a supportive boyfriend who keeps plying me with gingerbread lattes, new notebooks and other things. And a father who is writing a book, which may or may not compliment my own. The only way to find out is to finish it.
A note to my Dad, and anyone else who may be writing a book: Please don’t stop. And I won’t, either. Back to it.