Thursday, November 30, 2006

Redefining the Goal

This is it, guys. November 30, the last day of NaNoWriMo.

Drumroll, please: 38,452 words and counting.

I will not get to 50,000 words before midnight. In very un-Jerri fashion, not even going to try. It is so very difficult for me to allow myself to fall short of a goal, to fail at something I set out to do. Yet, I did not write 50,000 words during the month of November and that is a kind of failure. Remembering as I do, that all is within all, it is also a kind of success.

I allowed other things and other people to distract me from my writing on more than one occasion. Today, from the vantage point of knowing I will miss the goal, I would do the same. Sick friends, holidays with my children, my mother's recovery from surgery--these things matter more to me than hitting an arbitrary number. And while I may be justifying my choices to myself, after a time the number did become arbitrary because the last day of November is by no means the last day of this writing experience. Someday soon, 50,000 words will be a distant point in the rear view mirror and the story will still be evolving.

Participating in NaNoWriMo has been one of the great experiences of my life. Some days when I couldn't figure out what to write, I could literally feel the love and support in the air, feel those of you on this journey routing me on and reminding me that the most important thing was to keep going, to keep touching keys until the story found me again. And it works. Putting words on paper every day has become as much a part of my routine as brushing my teeth or taking a shower. No, it's more than that, really. It's almost like breathing. It's what I do to stay alive, it's what I do to remember who I was before I had a face.

My characters have become so real to me, so human. I sit in my favorite chair, looking out at the pond, wondering what stories Ruth would never want me to tell, pondering the catalyst for Fred's decline into alcoholism, trying to sit with Phoebe's hurt and fear. And guess what? I am That. That is me. The more I come to know them, the more I know myself and my loved ones. Damn, this fiction thing is FUN!

Reading has become a different thing, too. The more I write, the more amazed I am by the writing of others. I read books now for the stories and for the structure and for complexities of being that never before showed themselves to me.

From the deepest part of my heart, I thank you for your support. I'll probably post snippets from time to time as the stories continue to evolve. I am going to finish LOTO. That's the redefined goal, and it's one I will achieve. Well, Good Lord willing and the creek don't rise, as we say down home. Ah hell, the creek can rise all it wants. I'll still be writing, Good Lord willing.

Light and Love and SO much gratitude.
j

5 comments:

Carrie Wilson Link said...

YEA! You didn't reach "the" goal! I am so proud of you! Now you have PROOF that the world doesn't stop spinning when goals are not reached! They are GOALS - something to strive TOWARDS. The striving is much more important than the reaching. You might consider having more goals of not meeting goals! Perhaps the answer is in the word "arbitrary". Instead of numbers, pages, words, etc., make the goal to get up each day, ask the Universe what is in the best interest of all for you to do that day, and strive to do that. If it's writing, great, if it's watching TV all day in your jammies, celebrate and love that!

love.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like this was an amazingly productive exercise for you. Great job. It makes me want to tackle this myself next years.

By the way, look at this site,

visiblewoman.blogspot.com

And look at the opening page very carefully.

Go Mama said...

Awesome acceptance Jerri...esp from one who may tend to be so hard on herself. I'd say that even if you finished 40,000 words, (or not), it'd still be quite an accomplishment. Main thing is your passion and your commitment to the writing process.

Love this:
Putting words on paper every day has become as much a part of my routine as brushing my teeth or taking a shower. No, it's more than that, really. It's almost like breathing. It's what I do to stay alive, it's what I do to remember who I was before I had a face.

Awesome. Write on!

tinker said...

Congratulations, Jerri - You've written at least sixteen more words than me! And we both have more words of a novel than when we started. I think the NaNoWriMo experience really is a win-win situation for that reason. Even if you only write 10 pages, you've still got more pages than you did when you began.
Not to mention the characters that you've met now, that you might not have otherwise found hiding within.
Have no doubts, Jerri, you're definitely coming out of this as a winner - Write on!

Tongue in Cheek Antiques said...

It is hard not to meet are goals, but sometimes are goals serve others and that is a rich hidden blessing! Your determination in writing and taking on this challenge has allowed us to see a side we might not have, it allowed us to understand the grade scale of writing a book...I am proud of you!