This is it, boys and girls. The scariest night of the year! No, I don’t mean Halloween, I mean the eve of NaNoWriMo. Starting at midnight, the pressure is on for me to begin writing another novel.
What could be so frightening about that, you might ask? If you’ve never tried it, all I can say is that being creative is my own personal roadblock, at least being creative on demand is. I’ve had bursts of inspiration in the past, out of the blue, but when called upon by outside forces to create something new, my brain freezes up. Adding a deadline to that request simply guarantees that nothing good will come of it.
And yet, here I am, challenging myself to pull ideas out of thin air, and on a strict timeline as well. It’s the craziest thing. And I’m not alone. The logo this year says 300,000 people do this now, every year. Not all of them will win, and most of those who win will never publish their novel, and many produce a pile of words that you would never recognize as a novel at all. But publishing isn’t the goal. (I was going to say winning isn’t the goal, but that’s the definition of ‘winning’ and ‘goal’.) Winning isn’t the point, or at least it isn’t the focus. Writing is, and writing with other people, and talking about writing, and feeling good about writing, and then writing some more.
So how do I prepare for such a task? Apparently, I slack off. I stopped writing daily blog posts before Camp NaNoWriMo in August, and then neglected it for September and October. Then the fall TV season kicked in and I watched a lot of television. I thought about writing an outline for my next story, but that never happened. I installed the demo version of a program called WriteWay yesterday, and was overwhelmed by all the fields and places to put notes and summaries and structure. Surely that would require as much effort to write as writing the book itself!
When I started this blog, it was to give me a reason to write ~500 words of structured text every day. I’ve written short essays, I’ve posted my random thoughts on the nature of reality and dreams, and I’ve thrown in a few bits of flash fiction. I never shared any of my novel. During August, it was liberating to write just for myself. Now I want a new challenge. After I reach my daily goal (which is 1667 words), I pick out at least one paragraph to post here. Maybe I’ll comment on it, maybe I’ll add to it, or maybe I’ll end up apologizing for it. At least it will keep me on track and honest.
Oh dear, I’ve scared myself again.