Friday, November 03, 2006

Choking on the Art

Unlike some of the other participants in National Novel Writing Month - I'm guessing, just an impression I get from visiting the online forums, that many of them are university students or twentysomethings, with no kids - I didn't stay up late on Hallowe'en so I could start writing at 12:01:01 AM on November 1st.

In fact, all of November 1st was a wash - along with the rest of my office, I did a volunteer day with Habitat For Humanity, and as someone who usually pilots a desk, I was definitely not is any condition to do any writing that night.

So my big launch was last night, November 2nd.

The story so far?

1,065 words. Well below the 1,725 per day I'll need to hit to "win" (anyone who makes the 50,000 words in a month goal is considered to be a winner).

A couple of things held me back, I think - I had to start writing a little later than I'd planned because of another commmittment. But more importantly, performance anxiety was rearing its ugly head once again.

I get the impression that many NaNoWriMo participants are more focused on their goal than their results - that, while they're working to write actual prose that makes narrative sense, they're open to running with anything that works within that broad mandate to help them reach their 50K.

But I went and had a Big Idea.

A bunch of experiences, feelings and interests came together in a story that I just have to tell. A story that has to be a novel, which is another first for me. So, I went in worrying about getting it right, rather than getting it done.

It's old news to anyone who's been following this blog, and a long-standing writing habit of mine. I get worried about every tiny little detail - as though that mattered in the first draft - and get hung up on wordsmithing, when I should be getting the words in my head onto the screen.

1,065 words isn't a bad start. But I'd really like to hit that 50K. I hear you get a t-shirt if you win. And I need to relearn that the first draft is for the broad brushstrokes. Getting the ideas and the words out there. It's for passion, not perfection.

So tonight, I take a deep breath, refocus, and give my inner critic a swift kick in the nads.

4 comments:

rachel said...

Die, inner critic! Die!

Karol said...

There are two mottoes for nanowrimo that I find particularly helpful:
"Exuberant imperfection" and "Quantity, not quality."
Also, if you get the book "No Plot? No Problem!" there's a button you can press and when you press it, they take your inner editor and put it in a kennel for a month.

carol said...

So, how did the rest of nanowrimo go for you?

Stephen said...

To be honest, not that well. See above for the gory details!