Goodbye. I’m leaving you after this. I felt I needed to write this, because I really don’t know what tomorrow will bring, or the day after . . . All of it is a mystery to me. And, I’m afraid.
Yeah, this badass Vietnam veteran finally admits that he’s afraid. I got anxiety up the whazoo, if that is the correct way of spelling it. At this point, who really cares? I felt this way before. I remember what it was like going into the army. It was 1968 — the third of June – and I knew then that I was facing possible death in war. That was the day I was drafted. It was one summer removed what historians now call the hippie “Summer of Love.”
There was no love rushing through my veins then. I felt scared, just as scared as I feel now. The Vietnam War was raging. The United States suffered some of its greatest losses following the “Tet Offensive.” (If you don’t know what that is, ask some grizzly disabled veteran from that era. He’ll tell you stories that’ll knock your socks off!)
You see, I will be entering the “Great Unknown” tomorrow. I plan to take the first step toward a goal I had set months ago in an attempt to “better” myself and possibly offer the world something that hadn’t been included before. At least, not in my life time.
And that, my dear friends, is to write another novel from start to finish in thirty days!
What gives, you might be saying. Why is Contoveros trying to pull our legs? Well, I’m not. I am simply trying to share the anxiety I feel, and explain how my mind is playing tricks with me ever since I decided to write another historic novel.
I feel like I’m about to walk off a cliff. There will be no land beneath my feet; no secure place that I have tread before or will ever tread again. I’ll be trying to repeat what I did just one year ago. Write a book in 30 days. Write it day in and day out. Write it without looking back, without editing, without re-reading it with the exception of maybe a few of the last few paragraphs to make sure there is some sort of continuity from one day to the next.
I pledged to write 50,000 words starting tomorrow, November 1st. It’s all part of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an international group that encourages writers to commit themselves to write the equivalence of a “short” novel, a “short” book. I did it last year. I got up to 65,000 words before I finished. By the time I eventually edited the darn thing, I had eighty-four thousand words on my computer. That includes an entire chapter I cut out completely because I found it too boring to keep with the rest of the manuscript.
But, can I repeat? Do I have the stamina to put my life on hold, so to speak, and treat this as a job, treat it as a mission, a way of life to follow for a full 30 days? That’s the sixty-four thousand dollar question. I don’t have the answer. But, I figure most new endeavors are like that. You have some general idea of what might enfold, but you can’t predict what will happen, and you simply hope for the best, knowing you’ve succeeded at these types of things in the past. And even if you fail, you will have failed at something noble, something greater than what you have tried before.
And, so I say goodbye for now. I’ll see you on my birthday, my friends. December First never looked so good before . . .
(For a look at last year, please see the following: NanNoWriMo done, Thank God!