I’d Like to Thank the Academy…

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”

– Ayn Rand

October 11th seems like a lifetime ago — a bygone era, the days of yore. A once upon a time when I still tread water and chased windmills on the same blog, before the split and the new look, in the salad days of my youth.
It was two months ago. Not even.
But dang, so much has happened in that time, it feels like an eternity. On that Thursday, October 11th, I made the decision to take a short story of 500 words and craft it into a novel of 50,000 words (or more)…in a month…never having written a book before. So with only twenty days to prepare, I swung into action like Poe’s Pendulum.

A hero on a vision quest (just like my protagonist), I gathered my tools, which included a Lenovo E530 laptop that arrived on the fifteenth, a download of the NaNo trial version of Scrivener, and a case of Maxwell House Breakfast Blend. Breakfast Blend? What am I, some kind of java wuss? HA! I laugh in the face of coffee; however, drinking more than one cup of mud from those gourmet beans — the ones that are hand-picked from fresh mountain lion crap and sun-roasted atop the highest peak in Columbia beside a pile of cocaine — can really wreak havoc on my tum-tum. Ouchies.

Next came a support group: my writing buddies who were also participating in NaNo…and you folks. Gus, The Fool, kept me laughing the entire trip with the comical way he expressed himself — loved it; Roxanne, The Nurturer, walked me through my questions like a patient mother, the Carol Brady to my voice-changing Peter (Brady — not a talking willy).

Julie stepped-in as The Father’s Daughter, a confident intellectual who encouraged me through daily struggles and told me to just “keep writing, no matter what!” Egg filled the role of The Recluse, a sensitive, philosophical, discerning friend who, with a rich inner life, preferred solitude during the journey, but made welcome appearances at least twice a week, if not just to say, “Hey…good job.”

And Demetria, The Matriarch, cheered and did back-flips from the sidelines no matter how far behind I was on word count, like the soccer Mom of the kid who always kicks the ball backwards. Thanks, D…I finally made it to the goal (and the correct goal, at that).

Then, on November 1st, I was off…like a herd of turtles.

It was my mom’s birthday and absolutely no writing was accomplished, but it was planned that way. The next day I opened a jar of bottled lightning, jammed out 4600+ words, patted myself on the back, and then flatlined. Look for yourself:

Whatever was going on had to have been something hectic and harried — it always is — but thank goodness one of you came to my rescue at the end of that first week, because the heartbeat was defibrillated and my writing, resuscitated.

Trudging out of the hole, about halfway through I had a stroke of good fortune — Sciatica! SCIATICA! It helps if you read that with a Pacino spin. But thank God for small and excruciatingly painful favors that keep one bed-ridden for a week and a half. Two, actually — I milked it good. Anyway, it allowed for relatively unencumbered writing in the solitude of my warm and cozy bed. Ahh…the life. It was absolutely wonderful, and the pain pills helped…a lot. Monty gets a little psychedelic in Chapter Eleven.

So by the time all that was over, I was back on track and kept the pace for the rest of the journey. Granted, the book is planned at around 65,000 words, so another 15,000 still need to be auditioned and cast, which is December’s goal. Then, the real work of revision and rewrites begins — months of polishing it up to make that gold nugget shine! And hopefully in the process, the first draft of book two.

I started this post with a quote from Ayn Rand about the creative man’s desire to achieve, not compete, and that’s what this became for me…a strong desire to create a story, and to achieve that goal in a month’s time.

It was also a lesson in camaraderie, in reaching out to my writing brethren and sistren, drawing from their strengths and experiences and the unique roles they played on the journey. They’ll be remembered in the dedication. I might not write them in, but they’ll be remembered at some point.

And that was NaNoWriMo 2012…my first. But hopefully, I’m not the only winner in this. If all works out, millions — nay, billions — of people all across the globe will come to know Monty Tucker, buying books on his adventures, watching the movie and sequels, collecting merchandise and selling it on eBay…that’s not asking too much, is it?

“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve…but a few clams along the way wouldn’t hurt.”
– M.L. Swift

And to all my cohorts who participated and achieved a certificate like the one above — onward and upward to step two! No rest for the weary!




18 thoughts on “I’d Like to Thank the Academy…

  1. Demetria did back flips and I missed it? She's so stinkin' agile. Congratulations to you on a job well done. I know you're not quite finished, but the goal is in sight and the world awaits the adventure you have to share. Author M.L. Swift, well done.

  2. Fantabulous post! A real man gives credit where credit is due. Were it not for the support of those I've met online over the past year, I dare say I'd be nowhere close to where I am today. Super support from super people has no equal.My thanks to those who assisted you in their various ways and my congratulations to you on your accomplishment. It's no small feat. Not only did you win the race, you won the RIGHT race.

  3. Thanks Jeff, for stopping by and commenting. Hopefully, next year you will be traveling beside me on our pilgrimage to NaNoLand…a great support group is priceless. :o)

  4. I'm typing this in a straight jacket…no easy task. The powers that be don't want me to be a danger to myself or others.Yes, the pace during NaNo was frenzied and I have chilled a bit…but I always run full-steam. Other things will move their way up the priority ladder, but nothing's going to stop Monty now. He's AWAKENED.Can't wait to read about your WIP on Wednesday.

  5. Thanks, Egg. Nor you! I don't think you should be shrugging off the two pieces you've written so readily…your travels sound worth reading (have you ever considered being a travel writer?). I loved the cats in France, and if A Tent Named Simba is similar, then I think you've got a winner on your hands!

  6. Oh good…I thought I had totally lost my sense of humor. Now if I can translate that into laughing all the way to the bank!Thanks for cruising through…and for commenting! I love your name. Sound so writerish. Isn't there another Clancy in the writing world? Swift, Clancy…good fortune is in the cards for us both.

  7. Okay, the "off like a herd of turtles" was simply hilarious. You gave me my first real laugh of the day. I'm very happy for you having soared through NaNoWriMo with flying Sciatica colors (loved that you milked the sciatica, awesome!).I, too, am glad to be included among your "sistren" (whether that's a made-up word or not). Call me whenever you need more powerful back flips in the future. Flips are guaranteed until I reach age 80, or I throw my back out. Whichever comes first. 😉

  8. I'll be writing until you reach 80, so that's good to know! Hopefully, it will be different books. :o)Sistren…my mind just went there. If it's not a word, then I'll make it one.Those stampeding turtles. Responsible for millions of deaths over the centuries.


Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s