Friday, November 29, 2013

a tale of trying to do NaNoWriMo when you know you will almost certainly fail before you even start

I did it. I did something I'd been meaning to do for years. I signed up on the National Novel Writing Month website and opened up a document and started trying to write this story that's been in my head as "what I would write about if I did NaNoWriMo" for four or five years running now.

It was something of a doomed attempt. I can't really explain why I picked this year to try to do it. All the reasons I had for deciding not to every year I've thought about it before still stood. But sometime past 9 pm on November 1st I was thinking and feeling a lot of things I don't really remember and I decided to give it a shot.

As you may have guessed, I don't have 50,000 words. I only reached 10,000 words as of tonight. I think it's safe to say I'm not going to write 40,000 more between now and midnight tomorrow. I suppose I could try and see how close I could get if I literally did nothing else between now and then, but that's not a good option (nope, not even on thanksgiving break. I have to practice and do laundry and things like that--exciting, I know).

I didn't write every day. At first I was writing every other day or every few days and catching up or almost catching up on the word count on the days I did write. Then I went two weeks without writing in it at all. Could I have reached 50,000 words if I'd written every day? Maybe? Could I have written every day? Maybe? Should I have written every day on an optional project that was just for me, considering all the other things I'm supposed to be doing? Probably not?

I don't think reaching the word count goal was really the point. Not for me, not right now. So was there a point? Actually, I think there was.

See, I wasn't writing my "novel" (which hopes to grow up and get a real plot someday) when I would otherwise have been practicing or doing my own homework or engaged in teaching-assistant duties. I was writing my story when I probably would otherwise have been feeling... whatever it is I've been feeling a lot lately. The point is I was doing it because settling down to some creative writing again was a healthy thing for me to do. And I'm glad I did it. I may or may not write much more tonight or tomorrow. We'll see. But I'm thinking of declaring December "November extension month" and just... not stopping. Because it is good for me to write, because I do care about figuring out where this story is going and finding out what happens to these characters. I think doing NaNoWriMo wasn't about writing a novel so much as it was about admitting that it's OK to devote a little time and effort to taking care of myself. So. Consider this my confession: I took time to write this month, because I wanted to, and I am glad I did, even if I didn't reach any impressive word-count goals.

1 comment:

  1. I've started fiddling around with fine-art type things of late, and a bit of crafting, for what I suspect are similar types of reasons:
    I don't try to do art to be an artist, I try to do art to stop being a scientist.