Many writers are wrapped up in the frenzy of meeting their 50K word goal for this year’s challenge. You know what I’m talking about. I blogged about it last year too, and my thoughts on NaNoWriMo in this blog post somewhere towards the bottom. The funny thing is this time seems like it would have been perfect. Perfect as in I’ve finished another project and feel ready to start another. What better kick in the pants than to commit oneself to slamming out 50K words in 30 days?
I don’t know why I just can’t bring myself to sign up. Okay, yes I do. Here’s why:
- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, PANTSTER. What has that got to do with anything? It means that even though I’m ready to start another project, I’m clueless, make that clueless, about the story. I’ve had some ideas and I’ve tossed them aside. I do have one that is sort of a mish-mash of half baked ideas. It came to me the other day when I saw that guy get arrested in the disappearance of the Virginia student, Hannah Graham.
- My characters aren’t in my head enough to write about them. In the last project, this took months to come about. Not days. I’ve downloaded one of those questionnaires that’s supposed to help develop your character’s personality traits, etc, but all I can do is sit and stare at it like I used to do those quizzes in Geometry.
These stacks of paper are my three completed novels. (I love looking at them) The first one took the longest because it was done in bits and pieces. I had eighty pages and only eighty pages for a long time. I want to say about ten years. I would pull it out and work on it, only to get bogged down by my real job and not touch it again for a while. Sometimes it wasn’t the job, it was just me. Me thinking it was a dumb idea, me thinking it would never get done, and me telling me that I had no idea where the story was going anyway, so what was the point? You know the drill. All that and more. But, it did get done. And it was the story that got my contract with my agent – so, there’s that. The second one I think I wrote on sheer nervous energy and anxiety. Five months – that was it. Start to finish. The last one took eighteen months, with one godawful false start thrown in just to ensure I wasn’t getting too cocky about this writing thing. A complete do over.
The point is, I’ve got my way of doing this, and we all know about that old superstition with writers and their craft. Don’t monkey around with what works. Or something like that.
But, I’m tempted.
I’m tempted to try, even though I didn’t sign up. Heck, I could make up for lost time and still make the goal. Or, even if I didn’t – maybe I’d get at least 20K. That’s nothing to sneeze at. It’s more than today. Under the “official NaNoWriMo” count, a writer needs almost 1,700 wpd. What if I decided to go for broke and hit that for the next 25 days? 42500. (!!!) Half way home. Sure, it might be a hot mess, but I’ve heard the stories of finding the nuggets of gold, and we all have to start from something. Even if it’s writing like a fiendish fool, don’t we do that most days anyway? The difference here and a hard habit for me to break is to not go back and edit for days on end before adding new.
What about you? Are you sitting on the sidelines, kinda, sorta wishing you were five days done with 7,500 words to the good?