Thursday, November 19, 2015

NaNoWriMo Halt.

Aaaand, I'm out. I might make 25k this year. Or I might just set it all aside.

I knew it wasn't going to be an easy year. I'm still getting settled in the new house, work is kicking my behind and brain, and I had no time to think ahead during September and October. I'm a pantser as a general rule, but that doesn't mean I don't daydream a bit before beginning. I have some feel for my characters, and how they'll act/react. I've wandered my settings a little bit. I kind of know where I'm starting and finishing. This year, I didn't really get to that point.

And I'll be honest: for the last three or four months, I've been in a phase where it feels like either I've already done all the good writing I'll ever do, or else that any good writing I've ever done was a fluke, a freak, a chance happenstance, and I'm not capable of true creativity. Also struggling because let's face it, I've done very few Big Exciting Things in life, and if we're only allowed to write what we know, who will ever want to read what I write?

Pretty sure we've all been there. Probably more than once. Doesn't make it feel any less real.

I had hopes this year's NaNoWriMo would pluck me out of that slump. I hoped magical things would happen. Instead, I felt like all my words were childish and cardboard-y, and started to dread writing sessions.

So I stepped back for awhile. I haven't really added to my count for about a week.

The other night I dreamed about my Alphasmart Neo--a device I admit I've not used much for several years, and which I've been considering replacing with a tablet or Chromebook. In the dream, I was at some sort of bluegrass festival by the edge of a salt water bay, and some of us did some hiking and canoeing in between talking and making music.

Over the course of the dream, I dropped my Alphasmart in the water three times. Three times I watched it begin to sink. Three times, I shrieked and dived in after it, pulling it out just in time.

Which, maybe, means I still want to write, somewhere deep inside?

Or maybe I'm just feeling guilty about dumping it. Don't really know.

In any case, this year is a miss. I still have ten completed NaNoWriMos under my belt, so I can't beat myself up *too* much. But I'm disappointed all the same.


Joe V said...

Don't kick yourself too hard. The whole idea of NaNoWriMo, as you know, is to get more people writing. And you're already a writing person. Besides, to make a goal for yourself of actually writing a novel and getting published, you realistically should work on it year-round, whenever time permits, instead of crammed into one month.

I know this sounds like heresy to the many who do participate in NaNo, and I have nothing but admiration for all who do - yourself included - but I think what attracts people to it is the yearly ritual and the social aspect. But writers who routinely get published work year round, not in one special month, and do so in isolation, not as a social activity. I don't think you'll find Stephen King down at the local pub, declaring "25,000 words so far" over a pint.

But you also reminded me of my beloved Alphasmart Neo, that I need to get out. Maybe my young grandson might profit from using it? Thanks for the reminder, and great post.

~Joe Van Cleave

Bill M said...

Oh, don't despair. You have a very busy life at the moment. The best thing is that you set out to do NaNo. I've never even given it more than a thought.

To build upon what Joe states, find your self a relaxing place, take some solitary time, write what you can when you can. The rest of your life will be busy enough. Each time you write you can build on your previous writing, and if you keep notes when thoughts come to mind, build from the notes.

Elizabeth H. said...

I've mostly gotten pretty good at writing year's just, the camaraderie this time of year is nice, and it's a good push to get a head start on any new projects. I think my mistake was not truly having a new project. To some extent, writing is a matter of daily butt-in-chair time, regardless of feelings or "muse," but you still have to have some sort of idea or destination, even if parts of the getting it down are a slog.

I'd hoped this would be a creative shot in the arm, but...oh well. There are still many more days and months to come. Something will find me sooner or later.

And I really should spend time editing anyway.