Listening to: Kings of Convenience, “Power of Not Knowing”
Note: After I write this, I am fully prepared to go into hiding and save myself from the Evil Cabal of Evil Alter Egos, who are all going to KILL ME.
So, uh…I decided not to do NaNo.
Now wait, before you pile on…this is a decision made with much thought and consideration, and not a little regret. And I have pretty good reasons why it’s just not for me, aside from last year’s debacle (which actually turned out pretty well in the long run, at least I think, as I’m about to send the novel I messed up for NaNo last year out to CPs and I’m still pretty in love with it).
Let me put this out there: I love writing. I mean, duh. We know this.
And like a lot of writers, I get a lot out of the first-draft-period. That spectacular rush when the characters start becoming people, the euphoria when the story starts telling itself, the supreme satisfaction when everything just comes together. That feeling of being in the story, so deep inside it that it’s all you can think of no matter what else you’re doing. I love every second, and I revel in it. Sometimes I turn into a hyper little kid, when everything’s going so well and the words are really flowing, and I bounce around in my seat and grin like an idiot and maybe dance around a bit.*
Now, let’s talk about editing and revisions. I think I heard a few groans out there, seeping past the music playing on my headphones. I mean, at first when I’m revising, I’m kind of excited to fix all the things I know are wrong with the story, and there’s the satisfaction of polishing my dirty, rough gem into, one hopes, a flawless diamond that will sparkle and shine and make people cry with its sheer beauty.
Ahem. Anyhow. That high wears off pretty quick, and then it’s a long hard slog to the end.
So, as I’ve stumbled the last steps in the revision marathon these past few days, I’ve been thinking about all this and NaNo.
And I realized that NaNo compresses the part that I love, the part that turns me into a slightly tired ball of happiness and sunshine, and extends the part that turns me into a crotchety old lady who glares at little children and kicks puppies.** It takes away a month or two of writing and adds a month or two to editing.
As fun as the communal writing and the crazy rush to the end and the flurry of caffeine are, the writing itself is what really fulfills me. So why should I shorten that period (unless I’m on a deadline or something)? I should enjoy it. It goes fast enough as it is.
Now, a few things:
- In my preparation for NaNo this past week or so, I’ve done a great deal of brainstorming. Character profiles, worldbuilding, backstory creation, all that fun stuff. Far more than I’ve done for any previous novel. In the process, my throwaway idea has turned into something that really excites me. Funny how that happens, huh? I also feel very prepared to write it. I’m probably going to stop short of outlining the plot, because my brain just recoils at that idea. Maybe I’ll try, who knows. But I’ve gotten something wonderful out of just this week of preparing for an event I won’t even be participating in.
- I got my baby brother into NaNo’s Young Writers Program. He’s only ten, and he hasn’t written much, so he’s set a goal of 50 words/day. So even though I’m not really NaNoing myself, I’ll be guiding a young soul through the process. And he’s two years younger than when I wrote my first “novel”, so I’ll be helping one of my siblings beat the family record I set. And, you know, family bonding, sharing the love of writing, passing it on to the next generation, etc.
- I WILL be writing. I’m still pretty much on schedule to start the new project on Sunday. I’ll probably go pretty fast as the rush of a new novel sets in and as all the words piling up in my head this past week finally tumble onto the page. I just won’t be setting an arbitrary word count goal.
- The Husband, when I told him my reason for not NaNoing, said, “That’s why I thought you shouldn’t do it.” I think he really just didn’t want to deal with a wife who was pulling her hair out by the roots, screaming about tangled plot threads in the grocery store, or sitting in the corner muttering, “50,000 words, 50,000 words, 50,000 words.” But whatever.
There you have it. Those are my reasons. I’ll still be here on the sidelines, cheering all you brave folks on, encouraging you to OD on energy drinks, and laughing at the crazy. And everyone needs a cheerleader, right?
So, uh…please don’t kill me?
*This may be more related to my innate dorkiness than my love of writing.
**Hyperbole alert. I don’t do these things, even at the worst parts of revision. CALM DOWN, PEOPLE.