Write Long and Deep Enough and The Story Reveals Itself
Today is the last day of Nanowrimo-the month of novel writing. People all over the world are writing away, trying to get 50,000 words on paper. I am not going to make it, with 27,621 words it would be a miracle. Truthfully, I did 2 things which got in the way-I didn’t make the time every day to write and ironically I failed to look at the calendar. Until 8 PM last night I thought Wednesday was November 30. Guess that’s what working at home will do to you!
I wouldn’t have made it anyway. Not technically, but the exercise set me on the right path and totally turned my story on it’s head. I’ve been living this story and writing, sporadically, for four years. During this month I developed a chronological structure, with the places where my previous work will be inserted. So, I know there are more than 50,000 words when I pull everything together.
During this forced march, I wrote with a free hand, plenty of typos and terrible word structure. My goal was to dump the story out on paper. Without an internal editor I found myself going places I had dared not venture before-my childhood and the marriage. I wrote about taking my then husband, in a wheelchair, to his first visit with his divorce lawyer, a man who didn’t trust me and was difficult at times. Rereading that excerpt yesterday I realized I’m writing the wrong story. I’m not quite ready to give up on my original vision, but the better, more likely to be published story is about my struggles to take care of a man with multiple sclerosis-a man I didn’t love but felt obligated to. The marriage, the loss of a dream, the dissolution of that dream paired with the bitter recognition of how devastating this illness was going to be, for all four of us. And, what that means for a woman who wanted a divorce and freedom, but is now bound to care for this man for the rest of his life. That’s the story.
I’m going to sit with this realization for awhile. I’ve got client writing to do this week, so later… when it’s percolated a little I’ll look at what I’ve written. But, I know, as I write this post what I have to do. I remember a women’s conference roughly 10 years ago where I had this moment of intuition, a voice that said to me-write the book. I fought and protested, and wondered what there could possibly be to write about. I knew then the biggest challenge of my life was interwoven with my husband’s MS. But I wanted to live my own life, I was trying to find the ‘me’ who felt lost and surely that discovery was not to be found in his illness?