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Taking On NaNoWriMo: It’s Official, I’m a Masochist

Week Two: 2,036 words. 47,964 more words to go.
 
If you look far back enough through my Facebook photos, you’ll see this graph. A friend of mine found it during our senior year of high school and tagged one friend in each category, predicting how we’d all be in college. While a studious friend of mine was the “nerd” and others were placed into normal categories like “slacker, I was tagged as the following:
 
“Defies the Laws of Physics”.
 
That really should have been a red flag, but at the time I took it as a compliment. I was excelling at six AP classes to add on to two from the previous year, running the debate and Model UN teams with my friends, and participating in a whole slew of extracurriculars. To me, my friend’s tag just acknowledged everything I was doing at the time which made me so, so happy.
 
So why am I complaining? Because now in college I realize that “Defies the Laws of Physics” actually means “You’re Crazy”. It means that you’re doing way too much while somehow holding everything together. But because you have been holding everything together, you just keep piling things on to push yourself for the sake of pushing yourself. Basically, you’re doing more work for the sake of doing more work, and that makes you happy.
 
And now I’m doing NaNoWriMo.
 
For Her Campus readers who haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo, it’s a national internet-based creative writing challenge that began in July 1999. The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel (around 175 pages) by 11:59:59 on November 30th, and anyone who can reach that 50,000 word landmark is immediately declared a “winner”.
 
The sad part is, I HAD to sign up for NaNoWriMo not because a professor forced me to or my friends dared me to, but because I needed it for my own happiness. Back in high school when I realized that I wanted to be a journalist, I wrote almost every day. But that stopped in college when work piled up and I wasn’t writing nearly as much as I wanted to. The worst part was that even though work bogged me down, I still conceived and developed all these ideas that I desperately needed put down on paper.
 
That’s why despite midterms, problem sets, writing and editing articles, and dance, I need to participate in NaNoWriMo. Even though I’ve already got so much on my plate, this is one project I have to pile on because it’s another challenge as well as the creative release I’ve been looking for.
 
Here’s what’s happened since then. On the very first day, I managed to write 2,036 words in one sitting, which is absolutely impressive considering how on Day One I was about 369 words over the suggested daily output of 1,667 words per day.
 
Then Day Two passed.
 
Then Day Three.
 
Then a week.
 
Week and a half.
 
Now it’s two weeks in, and I’m still at 2,036. To be honest, I kind of expected this. The moment I wrote the first word, I imagined myself just casually cruising along at my own pace until the fourth week when I’d be 40,000 words behind. That’s when I’m kicking it into overdrive.
 
But enough about my own feelings and musings, I know why you’re all reading this entry: you just want to know what I’m writing about.
 
Well, my novel reads exactly like a Jean-Pierre Jeunet movie. So take a moment to remember Amélie, A Very Long Engagement, Délicatessen, and every other one of Jeunet’s movies, which I’m sure left you confused, amused, and aghast. Imagine highly saturated movie scenes, thoroughly bizarre characters, and events that are just too weird to happen in real life.
 
More specifically, I want you to imagine a plain guy named Brad who finally shows his face to the rest of his neighborhood. Picture an old pedophilic Frenchman with binoculars the size of his head, a bloodthirsty Danish butcher who interchanges between being a pirate or a samurai as he slaughters worms in his garden, or said butcher’s 14-year-old daughter who obsesses over bras left by the women her father brings home.
 
Now realize that I think about these things in my spare time.
 
Clearly, I’m not aiming to pull a Water for Elephants and get myself published (let alone obtain a movie contract). But what I do want to do is write a story so crazy that I will completely let out all of my creative desires for the next month. I want to see how far I can push my (slightly twisted) imagination and, of course, the extent of my masochism.
 
In other words, I’m testing to see if I can still defy the laws of physics.
 
Now back to work. 2,063 words is simply not enough.

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Annie Pei

U Chicago

Annie is a Political Science major at the University of Chicago who not only writes for Her Campus, but is also one of Her Campus UChicago's Campus Correspondents. She also acts as Editor-In-Chief of Diskord, an online op-ed publication based on campus, and as an Arts and Culture Co-Editor for the university's new Undergraduate Political Review. When she's not busy researching, writing, and editing articles, Annie can be found pounding out jazz choreography in a dance room, furiously cheering on the Vancouver Canucks, or around town on the lookout for new places, people, and things. This year, Annie is back in DC interning with Voice of America once again!
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