Day’s Word Count: 1,945.

Total Word Count: 7,551.

Words to Go: 42,449.

There is nothing worse than staring at your word count, even though it’s still a few hundred words over your daily goal, and realizing that already you’re losing your steam. I swear to God, I stared at that page for at least fifteen minutes after I wrote that 1,945th word and despaired because I couldn’t keep flying through like I had yesterday and the day before. Is something wrong with me? Normally people don’t hit this horrible bit of flatulence until around the end of the first week or something, right? Maybe even the tenth day, in some extremes?

But I have to keep my chin up. I’ve never gotten over 6,000 words before in my two previous years of doing NaNoWriMo. I’m already beyond where I’ve ever been. So…why not keep pushing? Why let down my readers and make them weep (possibly manly) tears of sadness and shame for me? I’ve been smacked in the face with a gauntlet. I might as well smack it back.

Rather like this video, in fact:

That’s right, Sheriff of Rottingham, I’m not going to let you keep me down. Well. Now I know what movie to watch to get me ready and going again.

I have no great illustrious lesson to give today. But I learned something myself.

That’s right, world…for the first time, one of my characters actually cursed in one of my stories.

I think it’s rather difficult to understand just what a huge milestone this is for me. My entire life, I have had no desire to go outside the boundaries of what I considered pure and healthy for me. This meant no drinking, no smoking, no drugs, no being scantily-clad, no sexual activity, and especially no cursing. I’ve always wanted to prove to the world that you can live a happy, healthy life without any of that and, in a way, prove that it really doesn’t add anything to your life in the process except for the possibility of a lot of pain and misunderstanding. I’ll let those around me to do what they wish without snapping at them, though depending on my degree of closeness to them I might entirely refuse to listen to what things they’re doing that I don’t want to be a part of because it hurts me so much to know they rely on that, but myself? Never touching that stuff. Ever.

This always presented a challenge to me in my writing. I couldn’t just write quiet, innocent characters who were terrified of offending people all the time. There needed to be a balance. But how could I strike that balance when the sheer thought of one of my characters doing something that I couldn’t bear to do myself made me feel sick inside? My characters might as well be my children in many regards. They’re as much a part of me as my own thoughts, born entirely from myself. It was…terrifying to consider what they were capable of doing.

Over the course of my journey with my mentor while preparing to write my senior thesis, a novel which I will start sometime next semester, he carefully began to try to coax a side out of my characters that I couldn’t imagine letting go. I wanted to control every aspect of them, manipulate them like little marionettes. He was the first one to get me to see…that that’s not how art works. You may start it, yes, but your art will eventually overwhelm you and take over itself. It creates itself. If you try to hold it back from what it wants to do, you are only stifling the life behind it that makes it so passionate and beloved to behold.

Today marks a milestone in my writing. It is the first time that I have become so separate from my characters that I am no longer the overbearing parent. I allowed this character to do what he wanted. Anything else would have been cheating him out of realism and life. And God, it feels both good and terrifying at the same time. I stared at that word after I typed it and felt a chill go through me…but it was a chill of adrenaline and discovery. I wrote a thousand more words after that point from the sheer high of creation alone.

It may sound like I’m making too huge a deal out of this, and maybe I am…but this is a sign that I am beginning to move into a different maturity phase as a writer. I am growing up, and man, it feels great.