Thursday 8 May 2014

This challenge is like a diet. Diets suck.

Aaahhhhh. *Happy contented sigh* 
Finally, finally some time for you today. Yes you, my dear, beloved blog. I missed our morning coffee dates. I feel like the last 7 days were a blur. A mix of too much work, too many things to do, and way too much guilt. 
Yup, I'm talking about this @#$^!* challenge I embarked upon one week ago. Seriously, what was I thinking?

Just in case you have no idea what I am talking about, let me enlighten you: One week ago I started on my journey to write a 50,000-word novel in one month. 
It wasn't really my idea: It's all NaNoWriMo's fault. I so love writing on this blog, that I thought the next logical step is attempting a book. 
Here is the thing: It's harder than I thought. Way harder. When I sit down for blog posts, the words simply flow. It's like my fingers have a mind of their own and fly across the keyboard (well, as much as they can fly with the 2-finger search system - I can't type properly).

But with "the novel", it seems like every word is a struggle. Is that normal? I understand the "tortured writer" image so much better now!

Here is how the first week went down, and some thoughts on why I have the ominous feeling the "50,000 in 30" won't work for me:
  • The emphasis on the daily word count is driving me nuts. As of right now, I'm exactly 5,870 words behind of where I should be. It's like a diet: Tell me I can't eat more than a certain amount of calories, and I! But if you don't give me that limitation, I will actually listen to my body and only eat when I'm hungry. (Usually. PMS-induced comfort eating doesn't count obviously.)
  • I'm a bitch at home. At least that's what Rich says. I'm stressed out, which is ridiculous because who forces me to do this? Nobody but me!
  • This may not be the best month to do this. It's very busy on the farm, there's a puppy that I started on daily walks, and we are getting a visitor from Germany next week. He'll stay for two weeks, and I'm very happy to welcome him back: Kalle is awesome. Which means, I want to spend some time with him. Shoulda thought about that before... 

 Do you think now this is all a lead-up to telling you that I quit?

Hell no!

Let me tell you why:
  • The thing I was most curious about has already happened: Characters take on a life of their own, and do things that you had no clue about! It's crazy, I know, but it's true. I don't know how it happens, since I'm supposed to be the creator of them all, but happen it does. It's awesome. 
  • I believe that with the stupid word count pressure gone, I will enjoy this whole endeavour far more. There have been some thrilling moments where a new idea just popped up, and makes you feel giddy and excited. 
  • You only get better at writing by writing, and I do love it.
  • I want to know what happens to Lucy!

Oh, you don't know who Lucy is? 
Lucy is the heroine of my story. Currently she is only 10 years old; but we will follow her along on her way to womanhood and her destination in life. 

Here is the beginning of my book. Please keep in mind that it's a rough draft; I'm sure there will be lots of editing changes before it's all done. 

Okay, deep breath...

What if…?

I think it was all due to the rain. What if it wouldn’t have rained so much that spring? What if I would have been happier? What if I could have imagined to keep living my life? What if it wouldn’t have been so utterly, totally unbearable?
One little decision can alter the course of your life. One chance you take can change everything.
What if I wouldn’t have taken it?

'Everybody has a story to tell'. I heard that once, and could not get it out of my mind. Is it true? What if you have an ordinary life? What if you are boring?
No life is boring. We all have secrets, regrets, and hopefully, triumphs. There are so many choices to make throughout a lifetime, it is mind boggling. So many different crossroads – how do you know which path to take? What if it is the wrong one?

I do have a story to tell. A story of being ordinary for too long. Because I was scared. I was scared of trying and failing.
But then, along came the 'what if' – and the chance for me to try the other path, the one I thought I wasn’t brave enough for.

This is a story about taking chances.

Chapter 1

I was six years old when I realized that I was completely ordinary. There was this girl in my class that fascinated me. Her name was Amanda, and she had something special about her. She was reckless and confident. Her hair had golden highlights in it, whereas mine was a boring mousey brown.

Amanda was not the smartest girl in the class. No, that was me. But she had something I desperately wanted: She was popular. The teachers liked her, and all of us kids wanted to be friends with her.
But I was quiet and shy, and did not dare trying to approach her. No, I simply admired her from afar, laughing at her jokes, listening with rapt attention when she would tell a group of admirers about her trip to Disneyland. I had never been to Disneyland, but desperately wanted to. Her life seemed so glamorous, whereas I was almost a bit ashamed of mine – mine was so ordinary. Amanda took ballet lessons, while I had to learn to play the flute; she had a pony, while all I had was a guinea pig. A guinea pig that was vicious and had bit me in the hand once.

One day after school I was walking home, when the biggest bully from school came running up behind me. His name was John Butcher, and he liked to be called by his last name: “Butcher”. It was intimidating and very appropriate.
He was two grades above me, and I was terribly scared of him. In the past he had taken away my backpack, pulled on my hair, and kicked me in the shin. 

Now as I saw him approaching, I desperately looked around for a hiding place.
“Psst, over here!” Amanda appeared from behind a hedge, grabbed my hand and pulled me back. We both watched Butcher ran past us, and sighed a breath of relief once he was out of sight.
I shyly looked over to Amanda. “Thank you.”
“You are welcome. What are you doing now?”
I was confused. “I’m going home of course. You?”

Amanda leaned over and whispered excitedly into my ear: “I know a secret place not far from here. It’s a climbing rock and it has a little cave and an apple tree! I go there all the time. Come, I show you!”
I could not believe my luck that Amanda wanted to take me to her secret spot. Me! But at the same time, I needed to get home; I had promised my parents I would.
“Can we go there later? I’m supposed to go home straightaway“.
Amanda looked at me challengingly. “Well, if you are scared then I go alone. Baby!” And she turned around and started marching away.

I stood there for a long moment, paralyzed. Here I was, at the first crossroads of my life. Which path to choose? My instinct told me to do what I was supposed to, be the good girl and follow my parent’s rules. But there was also another path – the opportunity to hang out with the most popular girl in my class. Did I dare? She had chosen me! If I did not go with her now, she would never look at me again. Amanda had almost disappeared around the corner.

“Wait, Amanda!” I yelled, and started running after her. Once I was by her side, she turned to me, smiled and took my hand. “You will love it, it’s so cool!”
That sealed the deal. I shoved the guilt to the back of my mind, and allowed myself to feel the excitement creep in. Breaking the rules was thrilling! For once I would not to be ordinary. 

xoxo Miriam

Linking up with Nicole.

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  1. a coming-of-age novel? those are my favourites :) i love that you're not giving up. it's a good idea to leave the word count and to just write whenever you feel inspired. i'm excited for your story!

  2. Remember darling, that you are not legally bound to the writing and guilt is the "gift that keeps on giving". You'll come out of this little funk. What better place to recover than that lovely place where you live!

  3. I'm relieved you are not giving up on it, maybe you just need a more flexible mind-set about it :) I LOVE IT! The intro "what if" is gave me goose bumps :) I'm really so happy for you, that you are starting this endeavor and you are so brave and sharing it!

  4. Woo! Keep going! I love the first sentence of chapter 1.

  5. You are writing a novel!! That must feel pretty amazing, even when you're hating it. I like the beginning so far, the What if..? leading it off into that first sentence. Great job!

  6. Goosebumps!!! I am so proud of you!! I am loving what you shared. I sense that Lucy will be a strong female lead and I LOVE stories with strong females. Keep up the great work!


  7. Omg, I NEED to know more about Amanda! Keep writing my dear friend.

  8. Goosebumps! I love it!!! I want to read more!!! More!!! Keep writing! I'm hooked!

  9. I love it so far! I want to know more. Keep up the great work and keep sharing! Is there really a cave and apple tree? Or is it a trap set up by the cool kids? I will have to wait and see.


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