I first heard of NaNoWriMo in high school. A friend of mine mentioned she was going to take on this seemingly insane endeavor of writing 50,000 words in a single month. I was always into writing and I had submitted a few short stories to our school’s literary magazine but they were short little things and they had taken me months to write. Let’s face it, I’m an easily distracted procrastinator. It would have been a terrible and unrealistic task for me but I rooted for her and watched her go. Excitement, eagerness, and anticipation in the beginning, a bit of skepticism around the mid, and by the end we were eating consolation sundaes at the mall and we never mentioned the phrase ‘word count’ again.
For those of you who may not know what NaNoWriMo is, it is short for National Novel Writing Month. It is a collective writing event internationally held during the month of November as a catalyst to help all those aspiring and professional writers who have always believed there was a novel inside of them that they just needed the right kick in the pants to get out. The average word count of a novel is 50,000 words so the challenge is for writers to write 50,000 words in the time between Nov 1st and Nov 30th. In case you’re wondering, that’s about 1600 words a day. The online community gathers on their official website to offer encouragement, share their successes, but most importantly find inspiration and support when the task begins to wear on them. Very few people have ever sat down and devoted themselves to so many words in such little time. A few notable novels have been published as a result of NaNoWriMo efforts. A personal favorite of mine is Water for Elephants, which was then turned into a fantastic period piece movie with Christoph Waltz, Reese Witherspoon, and the sparkly Twilight guy. For those crazy enough and hungry enough, it’s a fun project and could be a significant undertaking.
Ever since then the paths of myself and the 50,000 word count never crossed. I dated, went to college, became a teacher, got a new career, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten even close to that many words. Until now. The average word count of my posts borders around 1200. At 117 days, a conservative estimate would be I’ve written around 140,000 words since I began ManVsLoneliness. While they have all been loosely organized around my experiment, they have all for the most part been separate individual collections of thoughts. Minus a few series on the importance of setting routines, meditation, gratitude, etc, I’ve never tried to organize these posts into any sort of cohesive arrangement or towards any particular goal or purpose.
Starting on Tuesday, Nov 1st, I plan on trying my hand at NaNoWriMo. I’ve had some time now to get into the habit of naturally writing that much each day and I feel I’d like to try and organize my thoughts into something that could benefit others and create a compelling narrative and perspective. I’ll be foregoing the daily prompts for the entirety of the month and instead each day’s post will be my progress for that day. 1600 words or so towards what could maybe be the story of Man and Beautiful that I’ve been trying to work over myself anyways. The premise of what I’d like to write centers around my history with Beautiful and, to a lesser extent, all my previous relationships. What I’ve learned from them all, what they’ve meant. I used to think that the story of Beautiful and I was something unique, that we felt love and I felt longing on a level that few would ever understand or experience. It was that uniqueness that drove me and also made me feel like I couldn’t possibly find another. Writing will help me see the story as it relates to everyone else. What was once something I obsessively clung to for its uniqueness is now what I want to tap into to touch on a universal desire for love and universal pain of loss that we all feel in our lives.
I also want to talk about the expectations and templates we create for ourselves that inform our relationships. Whether its from literature or TV or films or music or our families and friends, we all have certain stereotypes of what we believe love should be like and I want to see how this affects us, for better or for worse. I want to talk about the myths of love. My chapters will be centered around those commonly held beliefs, how they’ve manifested in my relationships, and how they are either harmful or actually beneficial. Myths like the ‘meet-cute story’ that all good loves have. Or the myth of soulmates or love at first sight. Myths about love and sex and intimacy and trust. I’d like to ask you all for a little assistance in this. If you believe there are certain fundamental beliefs that we share about love or relationships that would be worth discussing or investigating, please share them with me so that I might be able to dedicate some portions to it. The societal pressures and beliefs of love, the personal results, and the use or harm of holding these. That’s the focus of my novel. Lots of personal anecdotes, and hopefully some important lessons too.
If any of you are interested please check out the website. If you are crazy enough to try, let me know and I’d love to create a circle of support and encouragement. Or if you just want to watch a man’s descent into madness, sit back and enjoy. This will be a giant undertaking but I think there’s a story here that’s worth sharing and this fire is just hot enough and just big enough to fit comfortably under my butt. Hahah. I have one more day to rest before I begin!
Man: 96 Loneliness: 21