Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We had a good run, NaNo

Read this great post over at Maggie Stiefvater's blog today, it's her Dear John letter to NaNoWriMo (still pronouncing WreeMo, ack). I too have given up on the wily endeavor for many reasons, but I didn't know it was okay to say so. But reading such a missive from a New York Times Bestselling Author (do all of those get capitalized?) gave me the courage to say it out loud.

NaNo, I just can quit you.

Hahahahaha, you see what I did there? The quote from Brokeback Mountain? And I changed it? Funniest thing you've heard all day?

Maggie's reasoning (I can call her Maggie because we're imaginary Napa Valley buddies) reflects my exact sentiments: why in the world would I write 50K words that I know I'm going to have to horribly massacre later? I found myself hating everything I wrote, panicking if I deleted anything, and then obsessively checking my word count every 50 words. Nevermind that I still had pesky things like sleep and work and eating happening despite my STRICT INSTRUCTIONS that they not interrupt me for the month of November. Ironically, I found that trying to force a daily word count on myself brought on the worst case of writer's block I've ever dealt with, which I'm pretty sure is contrary to the whole concept of daily word counts.

Sometimes, yeah, what you write sucks. And you know it at the time, but you've just got to get to the next good part and then you'll go back and smooth out the transitions. Everyone has that, and everyone knows it. But NaNo took it a step beyond that and posited that everything you wrote would be crap, and would take months of editing to fix. Personally, if I can get it right the first time, that's what I'm going to aim for. The time you might save writing the first draft will definitely get eaten up with the second draft. And the third. And fourth. And five hundredth.

But you know what, NaNo? You may not have won this brand new writer, but hey, consolation prize! You inspired her to write more often. That's right, amidst the holiday rush, the packing and moving of secret lair items, the signing of said lair documents, working, etc., I wrote. More than I probably would have without such an ominous deadline hanging over my head. And while I certainly will not have written a 50K word novel by midnight Nov 30, I will have a solid start to a story that might have lain dormant a few months/years/decades longer in my brain without the impetus.

In conclusion, NaNo, I'm quitting you.

Hahahaha, you see what I did there again? Referencing the joke from earlier? It's totally cool to point out why something is supposed to be funny. That's how jokes work.

P.S. Secret lair: achieved. Just in time to be thankful.

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