NaNoWriMo approaches, and I grow more and more apprehensive with each passing day.
I’ve been doing NaNo ever since 2004; see this earlier post for a breakdown of what I’ve written over the years, but basically it amounts to a novel a year, two each in 2005 and 2006, and failure in 2012 when I was getting ready to move cross-country for a job.
As time goes on, the actual act of writing has gotten easier, which isn’t too surprising. What hasn’t gotten easier is writing something good, something worth reading. NaNo operates under a tight time constraint, so my default response when the first story I try to write in November starts to stumble is to write something else, something easier, something that I know I can bang out over a week or two.
It’s, inevitably, garbage.
In the past I’ve had the excuse of, well, life. I had a full-time job. November is never exactly a calm month with the holidays approaching. There were other distractions, other events, that made taking the easy way feel less like a cop-out and more like a reasonable coping mechanism. It’s either garbage or I don’t write anything
This year is different, though. The excuses are much more evidently just that: excuses. I’m not going anywhere next month. I don’t have a job to distract me.
If I fail, I have no one to blame but myself.
It doesn’t help that I’m actually excited about this particular story idea, in a way that I haven’t been since I wrote Rewind
The readership of this blog is tiny but non-zero, and I feel some level of obligation to that readership, an obligation to provide something interesting to read. NaNo seems like it could be an excellent source of that material… but it could also be an excellent way to watch my attempt crash and burn.
It’s not that I’m worried that I can’t pump out 50,000 words over the course of the month. It’s that, this year unlike all the previous ones, I feel it’s important that those 50,000+ words actually be somewhere in the vicinity of good.
So: I worry.
I still plan on sharing the story here, but I’m going to wait until I’m far enough “in” that it doesn’t seem like I’ll be tossing it aside. That seems like a reasonable compromise, to me, and it’s still no promise that it’ll actually get finished. Or be any good. We’ll have to see.
Wish me luck.