Every November some of my friends get all “why aren’t you doing NaNoWriMo?”
Well, a few reasons. Firstly, back in 2009 I did it in 16 days. 16 days, 50,000 words. I still went to work and was possibly more social than I was in the surrounding months. I know I fucked around at least 2 of those days too, but let’s just call it 16, because that’s when I started emailing the damn thing out to people. Sure, it wasn’t polished, but it was a coherent story that was read-able. I spewed that out in 16 days. That’s how I roll. 50k in 30 days isn’t that much of a challenge anymore.
Secondly, I have friends who like to try it, but when they see a status update that I have 5,000 words by noon on November 1st, they get demoralized. Sure, maybe that’s THEIR fault and THEIR shortcoming, or maybe I could just shut the fuck up, but regardless of all that, I rather enjoy cheering them on from the sidelines, and it doesn’t help when they ask and I tell them I’m 15 or 30k ahead of them.
Thirdly, when I first finished NaNoWriMo back in 2004, it was originally about WRITING, as in sitting down and doing the shit, not talking about it, not putting it off or getting distracted, but writing. I remember reading the mission statement that said something along the lines of it being something to get people writing, whether they finished or not, what mattered was that they’re writing. I went to a meeting once where people were like “what if we don’t finish?” and I told them all that – that finishing isn’t as important as the fact that they’re actually writing instead of thinking or talking about it. Some “veterans” of NaNoWriMo got all uptight and flustered, saying “no, you have to finish.” FUCK YOU. Yes, I realize that in America everything is about winning or losing, but maybe some first-timers just want to get their feet wet, not dive the fuck in. Yes, I realize that if you acknowledge that you don’t have to finish you won’t be as driven, but if you focus on the important part, you know, the part where YOU’RE ACTUALLY FUCKING WRITING, then “finishing” becomes wholly irrelevant. Maybe you never fucking “finish” that novel. Maybe it’s done at 20,000 words. Maybe it’s done at 300,000. Who the fuck cares as long as YOU DID IT?
With the above in mind, I’m already writing. Every day I do a poem. Every week I edit or write a significant chunk of something. I expect that the re-write of my third novel should be done by the end of the year, possibly sooner. Why would I want to muddy the waters of something I’m focused on with a brand-new idea?
Fourthly I don’t get writers’ block. I lack time or get distracted by shiny things, or girls, or shiny girls, but I never get writers’ block. For example on Sunday I sat down at a coffee shop and set up the laptop so I could ogle the pretty girls, not knowing what I would write. After a single sentence the whole thing came together and I spent more time writing than ogling, and in fact when I looked up FROM MY ALMOST-COMPLETED SCENE, the pretty girls were gone, AND I WAS NOT IN ANY WAY SAD. What the fuck is writers’ block? I don’t need to impose an artificial deadline in order to force myself to create.
(side note : thank you ladies, whoever you were, for being the muse for a few minutes)
If you’re NaNo-ing this month, whether it’s your first time or you’re a vet, my question to you is this : “WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU READING THIS INSTEAD OF WRITING?”