Writing for an Audience of One

Two years ago I discovered NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, and I was super stoked about it. I made an account on their website, filled out my profile, and prepared to write a whole novel in a month (NaNoWriMo is a challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days). Before I began blogging, I used to spend a lot of my free time writing for myself– poetry, short stories, novels that I never really finished. I remember my parents had received this totally ancient PC from a friend and let me use it– it wasn’t connected to the internet, but it didn’t matter– and I would sit down in front of the computer, turn on some music (usually the Beatles or the Shins) and write for hours, creating alternate realities where kids had power and parents didn’t really exist and magic was everywhere (you know, kid stuff). As I got older I found livejournal and greatjournal (remember livejournal?!) and that really exposed me to the catharsis that can come with online journaling and blogging, but even then I still made time for something beyond my own experience, something creative and outside my own life. It was nice to be creative and fantastical, to write about anything I wanted, to have my characters do whatever I wanted them to, to play out what-ifs or if-onlys in Microsoft Word. I continued to write through high school and into college, but eventually I stopped devoting time to fiction and spent more time writing midterm papers and blogging. 

So when I found NaNoWriMo I thought YES! I really wanted to get back into writing fiction and I had some ideas that had been floating around in my head for awhile that I thought might be worthwhile to explore. So I signed up, opened Word, gave the document a good title….. And that was as far as I got. I didn’t write a single thing that whole month! Here I am two years later and those ideas are still begging to be realized on paper, buzzing around all the time, whenever I read a good book or watch a movie or watch and episode of Supernatural or Grimm. I often think about sitting down and writing them out, but every time I open Word I lose my momentum and end up staring at a blank document for an hour before closing it again, no words added, no ideas realized. I just don’t know how to start writing again.

Anyway, I got an email from NaNoWriMo about this year’s event and I thought, why not try again? Why not give myself another chance to commit to those 50,000 words? I have my reservations, obviously I don’t have that great a track record in this department. Part of me is afraid that my writing will actually suck. But what is the harm in just getting a rough draft out? First drafts are meant to suck– no one writes a classic in one go, right? And honestly it’s not likely that any book I write will actually get beyond my computer. However, I think about writing and I go back to all those hours I spent on those short stories, on those novels and poetry that just felt so good to get out of my brain and into the world.  I really write for anyone except myself. I expect anyone to read what I had written,  I had no grand plans for my stories. I wrote them for me, and it felt good. Maybe just writing for writing’s sake will be as fulfilling as I remember.

I have until tomorrow to decided whether or not I will commit this year. Committing means writing 1667 words a day, for 30 days. Can I do it? do I even have ideas worth writing? I don’t know. I guess I’ll have to get back to you on that.

2 thoughts on “Writing for an Audience of One

  1. weightywonder says:

    It can’t harm to at least commit to try. I think it could be fun to get back into writing for yourself, and maybe if you commit to it publicly (on your blog here) you will have some extra accountability to keep on track?


  2. FlatlinedGamer says:

    I missed it this year. I won’t be able to afford a new charger until the the end of the month. This is the second year in a row I haven’t been able to participate and it sucks. I had such good ideas and NaNo gives me the push I need.


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