Monday, November 5, 2007
NaNoWriMo >

It's that time of year again. It gets dark way too early. It's fucking cold. The only thing really worth looking forward to, aside from April and maybe the orgy of materialism around the winter solstice, is a dead bird and some gourd flesh made into a dessert. And thousands of psychotic people like myself get the notion to write a (albeit short) novel in November's 30 days.

I was seriously on the fence this year. I really wanted to do it. In fact, I really wanted to revisit my 2005 novel, Unchained, and finish it. That was my best effort to date; of the three times (not including this one) I've attempted NaNoWriMo, I got around 22,000 of the required 50,000 words before getting so far behind that I threw in the towel. While I was pondering whether or not to participate, I re-read it. With the distance from the rigors of actually writing it, I found that it was an enjoyable read. I wanted to know more, so I resolved to rewrite it.

But I also have a lot on my plate. Five or six hours of my free time per week are now devoted to the Volcanicast. I'm remodeling my living room/dining room/kitchen. And work looks set to get stupid busy on me.

Furthermore, I've lost my two best writing buddies. KJToo has defected to the Lake County group, and honestly, who can blame him; they're much more local to him. And Wesley isn't working on a novel this year, but his own pet NaNoesque project. He's also working nights, so I won't see him at any of the meetings. Without their camaraderie, I'm losing a significant part of the motivation. I hope that doesn't sound like a complaint, I can certainly not fault either of them.

With all that, I've done a miraculous thing. I've given myself license to fail. Every other year, I've expected to succeed (because I'm foolish and undeservedly optimistic). As such, I was overly concerned about being "behind" the average one thousand, six hundred sixty-six and two thirds words per day, and felt the growing gap as a tremendous weight such that when it became mathematically impossible for me to complete the task, I simply gave up and quit.

So I have a much more relaxed view toward NaNo this year. If I don't make it, that's okay. The odds were against me, anyway. If I do make it, though, what a sweet victory it would be.

I started on November 1, rewriting Unchained as Projection. It quickly became apparent, though, that that's not what I really wanted to do. Every divergence from the original feels wrong. I find myself copying chunks of words (manually, no cut/paste) because I think I did it better the first time. That's not what I set out to do. And I realized that I just want to finish Unchained as it is.

This leaves me with a dilemma. I still want to do NaNo, so I think I'm going to start over with a new story. I don't have any characters or plot, but that's never stopped me before. I know that if I just start writing, the rest will come. The good news is that I came to this realization fairly early. That means that if I start tomorrow, my average word count per day need only be 2,000. A mere pittance over the original goal of 1,667.

I'm pretty excited about this turn of events, actually. I'm also excited about the freedom to fail. I don't think I'm going to quit this year, even if it seems near the end like I'll only hit 20K, I'm going to write until the last day.

So, wish me luck, and look for the new title and reset status image at the top left of my home page.

*There goes another 650 words. I'm doing it wrong.

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