Like a lot of things in my life lately, this post is 9 days late. Still, it’s the thought that counts, right?
This was going to be my “Why I’m not doing NaNoWriMo this year” post. But reading posts like that over the years, I’ve noticed that it seems difficult for me to write one without looking like a condescending jerk.
This isn’t where I’m going to turn up my nose at the NaNo, or go into my rationalization of why it just doesn’t fit in with my writing goals right now. I only bring it up now because, despite my resolve to not even fool myself into thinking it was a possibility this year, I reupped my account anyway and found out that somehow, some of my peeps found and added me to their friends list.
So, to them: You do your thing!!
Of course, the best part of reupping my account: the pep talks from famous writers in my email box. I squeed when I saw Aimee Bender’s!
Despite my brave words last week, I haven’t stuck with NaNoWriMo as much as I would’ve liked.
The irony of it all is that the thing driving me (or most anyone) to do NaNo is the thing keeping me from it, namely the desire to write and get my shit out there. So, when I should’ve been NaNo-ing for the past few days, I’ve been doing the following…
- Submitted two short-stories (one of which was rejected after one frakking day, but oh well–on to the next market)
- Prepping two more for final submission (just a few MS tweaks according to particular market specifications)
- Going through my published and unpublished stuff as potential entries for a short-short chapbook contest…
- …and to facilitate writing more material for the contest, I’ve reacquainted myself with the flash fiction section of the Zoetrope Virtual Studio. (Even scored myself an invite to a private office, where all the fun of Zoe really takes place!)
- Preparing to run into some well-known authors at Astronomicon 11, if I can steel my resolve.
I’m not saying I’ve given up on NaNo entirely. What I am saying is that it’s lower on the priority list than it was. I realized that my reasons going into it this year were somewhat faulty. I wanted an excuse to generate material, even though I had a backlog of stuff and a virtual notebook full of more ideas than I could ever use. I wanted that mad NaNo rush to get it all down. But why? For it’s own sake? That’s a good enough reason for most NaNo’ers but not for me, not this year.
I’ve been following Bill Cunningham’s (d.b.a. The Mad Pulp Bastard) Pulp 2.0 blog for quite awhile, before I ever followed him on Twitter. And the other day, he gave me some advice as I twitter-pondered aloud about a story of mine which was bought and paid for, but never published…
And the Mad Pulp Bastard responded…
Now, the particular advice itself isn’t as important as the spirit of it. The spirit of it said to me, Don, just get your shit out there.
There was a point where NaNoWriMo was a particular means to a particular end for me, and it served that end very ,very well. Then. Now, I know that finer, more experienced, and more published writers are doing it right this very second, but at this stage of the game–my game–it doesn’t serve my ultimate end. Oh, I’ll dabble and throw some words into the wordcount meter, to be sure. But if I don’t hit 50k words, then meh. I’d rather put more effort into building on my 2009 publications and get a head start on 2010!
For the past two years, I’ve sworn off National Novel Writing Month. It’s not that I’ve ever turned my nose up at it. It’s just that I’m primarily a short-story writer, for one. And, more importantly, I’ve got a bit of a backlog of stuff that needs to be revised and submitted (or resubmitted). Plus, I’ve always had trouble wrapping my head around the idea of writing a novel. Besides having only one or two ideas that might possibly be big enough for that format, I get discouraged that I don’t have the level of fortitude I see in the novel-writing members of my critique group.
But somewhere along the line, I’ve gotten out of the habit of drafting new stuff while rewriting old stuff. If you’ve read or heard Ray Bradbury’s thoughts on writing, he’d probably tell me, “Yr doin’ it rong.” And it’s bothered me for the past twelve months, which is why NaNoWriMo keeps me coming back.
I’m not too hung up on whether or not I finish. I did back in 2005 and haven’t looked at the thing since, and since I’ve published a few things since then, it’s all good. Basically, I’m in this because my feeble Jedi skillz need work and I figure NaNoWriMo is the best way to kill all these birds with one thirty-day stone.
I’ve got a strategy which involves…
- Creating a novel of interlinked segments. Yes, you can check the NaNo boards for the endless debate about what constitutes a novel, but if Cat Valente’s In the Night Garden (The Orphan’s Tales, #1) and Sarah Shun-lien Bynum’s Madeleine Is Sleeping are novels, then so is my attempt, tentatively titled Thoughts of Reference.
- Going through my notebook–I’ve accumulated and tagged all these items, and dammit, it’s about time they started working for me.
- Channeling Ray Bradbury, the master who demonstrated that it was possible to write a story a week. I’m attempting something a little more ambitious, but at the same time, isn’t. All I’m after are first drafts!
You’re all welcome to join me for the ride, though I make no promises as to how long that ride might be. I’m always glad to offer help & support, but I gotta warn you: I believe in doing unto others as I would have done unto me, so my help & support might look a little something like this…
If you’re down with that, then by all means, look me up!