G’day Peoples of the Pen!
Last Pepmail from the Wrimo support team manager – Lindsey Grant
We have one weekend left in our month-long mission to write a novel. If your experience has been anything like mine, you are still behind, it has been an insanely busy week with work or – if you are in the US – Thanksgiving, and the novel needs some serious love over the next few days
If you feel uncertain about whether you can do this, never fear! I have been mulling over this very subject and I have the answer: You can!
As I was pondering my atrocious word count and wondering whether I could get my NaNo-novel back to good, I got to thinking about this summer when I was exploring the ruins of an ancient town in Greece. There, the water for the town was drawn from a cistern deep in the ground. If you had the nerves for it (and a light source) you could go down into that cistern, 199 steps into the ground, to see where the well was.
I was excited and feeling outrageously adventurous. This was what questing was about! Journeying deep into dark places to see ancient relics and feel the power of the ages! Or something like that.
The actual business of descending into the cistern was something altogether different. The stairs were dangerously smooth and broken in places. The tunnel was pitch black and much shorter than I am at 6 feet tall, and grew increasingly narrow towards the bottom where the stairs were so steep they were more like a stone ladder. I had to feel my way forward, I fell countless times, smashed my head on the low stone ceiling, and walked through many spider webs.
There were plenty of moments when I wanted to turn back, uncertain that the pain and panic was really worth it. But I thought, “I have come this far. So what if I’m afraid of the dark and terrified of spiders, and I am claustrophobic and I can’t see a foot in front of me with this stupid flashlight and I might be bleeding from the head.”
So I kept on and made it to the bottom of all 199 stairs.
And there, in the weak beam of my flashlight, I saw a discarded McDonald’s french fry carton.
But after standing there for a moment casting my flashlight around the two by three foot swath of dirt, I also saw ancient carvings on the wall that looked like faces but were barely discernable after so many years. And I thought, “Ahhh, here no man has gone!” (At least not since the french fry guy left his offering.)
At that moment, the webs and the broken stairs and the fear rising in my gut with each successive step was all worth it – forgotten even. In the face of grave uncertainty and distress, discovery prevailed.
It’s a brave thing you’re doing, novelist, descending deep into the dark recesses of your imagination where the end may not be clear, and your doubts about the outcome of this creative adventure can feel overwhelming. Your novel may have some discarded garbage in it too – I know mine does! – but it’s also full of unexpected miracles. Don’t let the garbage deter you – stay in it for the magic bits. They’re there, and they demand that you write write write until the very end.
We can do this, and then we will stand together in awe of all that we’ve discovered.
Enjoy your writing!
So here are the links to my journals about the Pepmails of encouragement from the NaNoWriMo team
☼ NaNoWriMo Begins!
☼ Calling all Nanowrimo Young Writers!
☼ Charting a course through Nanowrimo
☼ Nanowrimo pepmail
☼ Nanowrimo Pepmail from Mercedes Lackey
☼ Nanowrimo Pepmail from Aimee Bender- (Ant Hills)
☼ Nanowrimo Half-way Pepmail from John Green
☼ Nanowrimo Final Pepmail from Lemony Snicket
☼ Week Four (Home Stretch!)