Quite a weekend, indeed.
National Novel Writing Month began with a bang for many wonderful people yet with a whimper for me. All Saturday, uploaded word counts were bringing the website to a crawl and sometimes a grinding halt. I never saw an Error 404 page on the website before. I did twice this weekend. It’s exciting to see so many people inspired and thrilled about writing a novel. Fingers fly over computer keyboards, faces are lit up as words become sentences and sentences become scenes of joy, pain, whimsy, adventure . . . November has arrived, and an army of wordsmiths charges forward up that hill and onward to victory.
Meanwhile, I’ve spent the weekend puttering. Not just puttering, no. Puttering relentlessly and Tweeting obsessively.
This is uncomfortable, to have started the 50K/30 day journey with a challenge that may break an eleven-year streak of word count blitz. I’m normally a digital media writer, sitting above my chair on a cushion of self-congratulations and massive word count. 50K? No sweat. 100K? I completed a novel. 223,100K? That tore me up, but I wear that number like a glow-in-the-dark tattoo and will point it out to anyone who’ll look. I’ve been challenged by friends and family to write 50K. Closest I ever came was 50,050, and that was really hard to stop writing right there and then. The novel was complete, though. The last words were “The End”.
This year, I’m handwriting the novel, processing it through a typewriter, and entering it into a word-processed document for upload. There is method within this madness. The Cryptid Series is being processed this way–outline, detailed outline, handwriting, typing with a pink typewriter onto pink pages, and word processing. It’s a much tighter and shorter story for it. I meander on a word processor and am left with so much editing and proofreading.
I don’t want to hand write a novel. I want the quick and comforting ease of immediate digital gratification and self-congratulations. So, to avoid this? I essentially spent the whole waking weekend on Twitter.
My behavior had its ups and downs. I Tweeted some good; I Tweeted some bad. I retweeted. I followed people. I got into conversations in which I was courteous; I got into conversations in which I was snarky. My follower list boomed, and I felt powerful. Beloved. I felt like ‘#FutureTwitterStar’ was tattooed in its black light ink right beside ‘223,100K’. In the aftermath of that social high, I look back and second-guess. There’s no turning back from the words I chose to use this weekend.
I did write by hand on Enrobed. It’s a good premise. I’m getting the day-dream like scenes in my head. The fires of creativity burn warm and bright. Unfortunately, I am doubting myself so much this year. “Why am I even trying?” I ask. “How can I believe that I’m good at this when all of the professional advice I see is telling me that I am doing it all wrong?” I demand.
Being a content creator is hard enough. Being an editor and proofreader is even harder. Being a publicity agent is the hardest task yet. I admire people who can matchmake readers and writers with such grace and style and skill. I can’t do it, and this is heartbreaking to me that I might shove myself down in the mud then keep kicking myself until I give up entirely.
So it goes with heartbreak.
In the past week alone, my Twitter follower count quadrupled. I did a giveaway of the Dome Trilogy which made me want to host giveaway contests monthly (FYI: The next trilogy giveaway will happen right around Thanksgiving). I love the people who I connect with on Twitter. To me, each is a stellar nursery of creativity spinning off points of light in once-dark places. I love celebrating victories, feeling concern and empathy for setbacks. Twitter is a very human place to me because human beings are extending themselves to me. What a beautiful gift I have received.
Some are great at marketing. I watch them market themselves, their products, their ideas. Some are contemplative and illuminate places in my life I didn’t realize were dimmed or dark. The human story is played out every minute of every day, and I want to watch and participate and learn. I appreciate the teachers of humanity who I’m so fortunate to have interacted with all week. Twitter is a classroom for face-to-face interactions, and I am grateful to have been invited to join in the discussion. Thanks and thank you are, I hope, the words I use most there. If not, then I will endeavor to make sure they are.
So it goes with hope.
I knew heartbreak and hope this weekend. Quite a weekend, indeed.