I’m more than 8,000 words behind on NaNoWriMo. Instead of furiously writing thousands of words during the first week of November, I traveled to Vegas, turned 28 and won an impressive $40ish gambling on adorable slot machines with unicorn and kitten themes — not bad, considering I only spent about $12. Plus, how cute is that Kitty Glitter slot machine?!
I also oohed and aahed at the Bellagio fountains, ate ridiculously overpriced food at The Venetian, used a payphone at Caesar’s Palace (couldn’t get a signal on my beeper), saw the Hoover Dam, attended the premiere of Top Gear USA with the guys of S3 magazine — the American version was much better than I had expected — and even wore a sequined dress one night. Yes, wearing a sequined dress warrants listing because I’m not one who typically glistens, shines or sparkles under sunlight like an absurd vampire.
But the important thing to note here is that I did not write. Yes, I managed to work in a hundred words here and there at the airport, but I’m still thousands of words behind. It’s discouraging, but I’ll just have to throw myself into the remaining 22 days with true literary abandon and get those words down. It’s not always easy, but I know I can do it because I’m inspired, driven, literally compelled to write.
If you, too, are feeling a bit overwhelmed by characters, plot and word count right now, just take a moment and remember why you started this 50,000-word journey to begin with. Actually, take a minute and read this excerpt from Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet.” He says it much more eloquently than I.
“Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: Ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night, ‘Must I write?’ Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple, ‘I must,’ then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.”