1. It’s Monday morning, where’s my Dragon Age?! I know, I know, they have until tomorrow, but it had better be on my doorstep tomorrow morning or I am having a major hissy fit.
2. Yesterday was Day1 of “Write, bitch, and no excuses this time!” and I managed roughly two and a half thousand words. So I’m relatively happy.
3. I am incapable of getting to the point even in fiction. Aieee.
If any of you reading this have danced around the idea of NaNoWriMo or generally around the idea of trying to write something, but have managed to slither out of it through a combination of apathy, procrastination and terror, then maybe my experiences can be of some help. I’m not trying to bully or cajole anyone into NaNo — for me, it’s helpful to have a deadline and a public commitment, but that’s all it is. Others may find that stifling. Others still might like the competitive aspect, or the idea that you can win some kind of a prize for it (just don’t ask me what it is, I’m not motivated by shiny items).
However, getting irritated at an artificial deadline is a sign of procrastination (at least in me). Most author-advice pieces I read have them all saying pretty much the same thing: if you want to be a writer you need to a) write, and b) write even when you don’t want to. Not wanting to is a luxury for those to whom writing is a mere hobby.
I started writing fiction in the 4th grade (thanks to some stunningly great and fondly remembered primary school teachers) and I wrote pretty constantly until about 15 years ago, at which point I stopped cold. I haven’t written any fiction since, not counting game stuff for live events or tabletop campaigns; those don’t count.
I don’t know why I stopped and I don’t know why it became impossible to start again, but there you have it. So for me, NaNoWriMo is an attempt to prove to myself that I can still put out fiction and that writing paralysis can be overcome. Turns out it’s quite easy once you figure out how; the hard part is working out what will motivate you and give you just enough courage to get the day’s pages out of the way. Oddly enough, knowing that thousands of people were also planning, pondering, procrastinating and putting pen to paper did help; it makes you feel less alone while still allowing the solitude many (myself included) prefer when it comes to actually writing stuff.
Note that at this point I don’t care about being read — that’s a whole ‘nother hurdle I’ll face when the time is right. But I’ll tell you one thing: if I can put out 10,000 words during this month, let alone the 50k NaNo demands, then it’ll be about 10,000x as much fiction as I’ve written in the last decade. Quality is irrelevant here: it’s the doing that matters.