To NaNoWriMo, Getting Up After You Fall, and Writing the Book You Want to Read

I finished my first book in 2013 thanks to NaNoWriMo. It was an enormous accomplishment, one I was exceedingly proud of.

Then I floundered for longer than I’d like to admit. I wrote. I stopped. I researched a historical novel. I stopped. I tried to think, think, think. I feared what we all fear. That the ideas will never come again. That the first was a one-off.

This summer I found a seed of something I thought was worthwhile to explore and cultivate. I finished the second novel, but only through sheer determination. It wasn’t fun and I didn’t enjoy it. And although I was elated that I managed to complete it, I tried to read it the next day and couldn’t finish it. I loved the opening. I loved the character. But the rest of the story fell flat.

And so I fell into a deep depression. I stared at the walls and thought about how I really had nothing left in me, story-wise at least. And how if I didn’t have a book to work on, there didn’t seem to be too much of a point to life. This lasted about three hours.

And then I thought about how if that were true, then there must be another book in me.

I often hear writers say “Write the book you want to read.” I like that advice. But liking it and doing it are two different things. Still, I asked myself: “What is the book I want to read?”

The answer was:

I want it to have humor. I want it to be uplifting. I want it to be warm but not sweet. I want a little magic, a little mystery, a little of the mystical. I want an imperfect but happy ending. I want the main character to win, just not in the way they thought they would.

So about six hours after my great failure, I birthed the premise of my next novel. I’m excited. I can’t wait. This feels like the first time. This is what I’ve been turning every stone over for.

The second book still has its place. It’s still the second book. I took what I loved about it and I condensed it and honed it into a short story that I’m really proud of. I’m submitting it to Glimmer Literary Mag. Whatever happens, this was a story I needed to tell.

I’m so amped up for NaNoWriMo 2015 I can hardly contain myself! I’m working and jotting and daydreaming away. This is a book I can look forward to writing every day.

Isn’t that the point?