where the writers are

Hide the Wrimo Control

Hide the Wrimo Control

It's just after midnight here in the "elsewhere" portions of Pennsylvania, the places that don't have enough participants to qualify for a full-on NaNoWriMo location. So we're just out there, somewhere, where other people can't find us.

Last week was filled with raucous laughter, the thrills of getting words down on the page, of updating word counts that put other people to shame. Over on a message board I frequent, the gang was hard at work, and a few of us were upset that we hadn't challenged some other message board out there to a word-off, a put-up-or-shut-up contest to see who could get the most words down on the page, even if those words happened to be "meow meow meow meow," over and over again. 

Believe me, there were points when this was not a joke.

Each day, the boards lit up with our results, what we'd accomplished each day. For those of us without proper support networks, those of us in the hillbilly hills where reading is something done more on the toilet than anywhere else, we needed this constant reassurance that other people were getting along as well as we were. At least I needed it. Or, more accurately, I needed to know that I was doing better than everyone else, that my word counts were still number one with a f---ing bullet. 

Week Two brought all that to a screeching halt. Posts drifted off as each of got into the meat of what we had undertaken, the challenge of "Dear God, we're trying to write novels, here?" It got ugly, and posts drifted away, whittled down to the barest of essentials, singular updates of dwindling word counts that read like epitaphs in some long-abandoned cemetery.

11,200. 6,350. 500. 

And then we quit posting altogether, all locked away in our little hovels, afraid to come out and face the shame of how uncreative we are, how few words we can actually string together coherently before we all went brain dead, before our fingers went numb with the effort and forced dyslexia took over. 

Or at least that's how I remember it. 

And since I've started this journey, even my most personal of support groups has dwindled away. I'm buried under my challenge, and each conversation I have with anyone eventually turns to what writing that I've gotten done today. A few conversations have even ceased outright because no one wants to hear about it anymore. My fiancee stays home most nights, shaking her head at my full-on obsession with my novel. My friends run the other way when I say hello. I find myself shouting at strangers in the street, drive-by countings just to let someone, anyone, know how far along I am.

"Hey man! 30,000!" I cried today to anyone that would listen.

 I'm lucky I haven't been shot. Far less has provoked a hail of bullets around here.

And now, with hours gone by and only a few thousand words to show for it, I'm here, looking for encouragement, looking for something, anything, to keep me going on. I won't quit, though. I have to keep going. Even if no one else knows.