NaNoWriMo: Reverse Side – The Climb

At the start there were hundreds of thousands of us. We all stared at the gigantic mountain that needed to be accomplished. The great endeavor. The suicider’s run. Some having the experience with the mountain. Others having no experience. Many afraid to even begin the climb while others licking their lips as if the climb is a tasty treat. We prepared. A year ahead of time. A minute ahead of time. A few seconds ahead of time. But then it was time. Midnight into the first of November. The start of the climb.

And climb is brutal. It always starts off with a strong run. The first week of pure optimism and unbridled joy. Everyone new and old to the climb sprints of fast. Climbing with fervor and desire, the top of the mountain already in sight before even 10k off the ground. A new story, continuing a story, the characters. All these things are now given a chance with the climb. Yet after that first week realization sets in. The fingers may not be fast enough, the creation engine has run out of gas too early. The kids, the lovers, the family, the friends, the rest of the peanut gallery and outside world stabs at your concentration as if they are trying to make you fall. Your thousands of words high. Your comrades and peers have started climbing ahead leaving you behind. The view behind you is so far off the ground that it makes the beginning look like an ant to where you are, yet…. the image before you is nothing more but clouds. No peak, no light of the sun, no end in sight. Within this limbo you’ve come to realize you may never see the end.

Yet for some reason you keep on going. 15k, 20k, 25k. Nothing in sight. No sun. No sky. Just the misty unknown that shrouds everything. The limbo continues. So high nothing but clouds that shroud everything. The no start point, no end point. Maybe even no allies who are either far ahead or far behind you. The beating of the outside world makes you want to release your grip. Fall off and pull the chord to your parachute. Return back to their world and maybe try again another year. Other things are calling: education, work, and social life, religious and spiritual devotion. Yet you continue the climb and climb and climb and climb.

Then you reach 35k. The clouds aren’t so thick. The light of the sun breaks through. Your fingers and palms begin to move faster. Is this an illusion? Is this a trick of the artistic devil? But then you hit 40k. You’re out of the darkness. Behind you are just clouds. Not where you began, but where you are. And before you is the blue sky, the sun, the peak. The finish line. The survivors of the climb. Some who still climbing. Others at the summit telling you to keep going and don’t stop. There’s a time limit, but that doesn’t matter. 10k left. It doesn’t matter if its five days or five hours left that vigor and dash from the beginning returns more powerful than before. You can do this. You cannot lose from here. Each word closer to the end. The cheering of your fellow writers urges you on. Everything other than the climb becomes unimportant. Like tunnel vision it is only the climb. The end. To finish. To win. And soon enough you type that last word. And you see the top of the summit. Banners, shirts, Viking hats and hot coca for victory. You stand at the top with your peers who made it amongst the spoils of this trial of tenacity at the top of the peak. For the first time since you began you realize it. You have won. You have hit 50k.

But what then at the end of the climb? What to do or where to go?

I have done the climb for a few years and the more I do it the, more I figure out about myself and how I work. Some years are easier than others, some years are harder. Whether it be external or internal sources. Some years you may wonder if it was worth it. However you feel, you should do the climb. Whether you win or lose the climb is a learning experience of how you work. Maybe you need to learn time management better? Maybe you thought you were a gardener type writer when you’re really an architect type? Perhaps you work a lot better under stressful conditions than peaceful? Maybe you rely on certain tropes and plot points too much that you’ve only now realized because you’ve written so frequently. To those who reach the summit there are prizes, but more than anything this is proof. This a view of your capacity and potential. 50k in one month? Then in half a year you could have a 300k book. Then spend the next six months tuning and fixing till it is a novel. You could possibly finish a novel and have it published within a year. And this is just the beginning if you continue to practice and strengthen your writing abilities. When push comes to shove you can do it. The only thing to do is to make the time for it.

What to do and where do you go? That is up to you.

~Nu Tael


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