06 November 2010

I'm a NaNoWriMo Drop Out!

Mood: Lonely and out of sorts (hubs is at work all day today - great OT for the holidays but I'm used to having my best friend at home on a Saturday and I miss him. )

On TV: Haunted London (guess the tv isn't ready to let go of Halloween just yet)

I? Am officially a NaNoWriMo drop out. Yep. That's right. Already. I'm a quitter. *hangs head in writerly shame*

For the non-writing peeps out there, NaNoWriMo is national novel writing month. 30 days of insanity that take hold every November when writers, professional and amateur alike, try to pound out a novel of 50,000 words in just a single month. It sounds like a great idea, right? Just write with abandon and get the words out on paper (or the computer) and at the end of a mere 30 days of insanity you will have completed a basic novel.

After completing my last work I thought that joining in the NaNoWriMo insanity fun would be a great way to get the creative juices flowing again. It would be a way of driving forward with my next work while the previous one awaits rewrites. Yeah. That was the thought anyway. The reality was much different.

Here's the thing folks. I'm a nerd. A card carrying member of the "I have to have straight A's or I'll die" geek club. Which means that when it comes to writing (or anything that remotely resembles an "assignment") I'm a painful perfectionist. Why that perfectionism couldn't apply to something more useful like, say, keeping my house clean or actually applying make-up everyday, I'll never know but it is what it is.

So, when I decided to dive right into the NaNo fray? I froze. Couldn't write, couldn't think. Spent days trying to flesh out an idea and failing miserably because all I could do was feel the pressure of the looming deadline. My muse clammed up and sat in the corner refusing to talk to me. My brain? Was only capable of playing endless rounds of on-line Yahtzee.

What if I didn't finish? (okay, really, what did I think was going to happen? It's not like the NaNo police are going to come and confiscate my computer.)

But if I didn't finish then I would fail and I can't fail! (I can however let my dishes pile up, my vacuum cleaner grow dusty with disuse and are there really people who immediately put their laundry away after washing because I really think that's a vicious rumor).

Ultimately I decided that I needed to remove the pressure from  my writing. Not that deadlines aren't useful but, for me, the deadline of one month was nearly enough to drive me out of my mind in less than a week.

So, to all the NaNo warriors out there - I wish you luck and flowing words.

As for me? I have another game of on-line Yahtzee to finish and then maybe I'll do the dishes. Or maybe I'll write because now that the deadline has been removed my muse is starting to look like she might be willing to have a little chat.



  1. yay! NOW you can write! That's all NANO was supposed to help you do anyways. I'm not doing it at all. So, great job taking it on in the first place! christy

  2. Christy - thanks!! That's exactly it...now I can write without being all tangled up in whether I've hit a certain word goal or whether I'll ultimately pass the Nano test. :)

  3. While I have written a novel within the space of a month, it wasn't done in November, and I didn't have any deadline. It so happened the words simply wouldn't stop flowing - which can be a double edged sword. Editing took forever. :)

    I like the concept of NaNoWriMo to help get those who are blocked to just get words on the page, but for myself, the looming deadline makes me focus far too much on numbers and not on the plot flow, quality of the words, the character development. All of which is the point of NaNoWriMo, but causes my brain to seize because it KNOWS it is supposed to be watching those things for me. As a consequence I would drive myself insane trying. So, I have designated myself a NaNo cheerleader, because that is something I can do with a great deal of success, while I continue working on writing and editing, because as writers, do we ever really have any time off?

  4. LK: You hit the nail right on the head. I tried and couldn't even manage to get myself out of the starting blocks. I'll still be writing and hopefully without the pressure of such a tight deadline the words will be free to flow.


I love comments. They're like cake without the carbs.