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As a few of you may know, I decided to do the National Novel Writing Month this year. The results so far:

This is actually kind of a big deal for me. When I decided to do this, I was determined not to pre-emptively psych myself out by reflecting on the fact that I have never in my life finished a piece of fiction to a deadline, ever. All the same, I couldn't help but harbor some misgivings about my ability to put the fingers to the keyboard after four years of being unable to finish a single darn story.

Over the last four years (which is also, not coincidentally, the age of my daughter), I've tried to meet WIP pledges, Fuh-Q Fests, challenges, and zine deadlines. So, I thought I'd try NaNoWriMo. After all, what's one more blown deadline? But so far, I think this deadline is actually working.

I feel the urgency of the deadline on about the same level as I felt deadlines for papers in school. There's very much a "Okay, this must be done, so just do it," impulse, which is very good, but at the same time I don't feel the level of guilt I've always felt at not meeting self-imposed deadlines. I think I always felt, even if the deadline was set by someone else for their challenge or zine or whatever, that it was still all on me whether or not I finished.

I don't know why this is different. Logic suggests that it's because so many people I know are doing the same thing, and it gives me a big boost when I see that all my friends are writing, too. Maybe it's the communal feeling of "We're all in this together," or something.

Or, it could be the fact that I don't have the luxury of editing. My normal writing method is to write from beginning to end, and edit, edit, edit the crap out of it as I go. I've never just whipped out a rough draft like this, writing the first turns of phrase that occur to me and then leaving them be. I find that I'm really enjoying that part.

Some of this, I think, has to do with the fact that my entire lifestyle has changed since Boo came along. I no longer have those full days of uninterrupted writing, when I could buckle down and write for hours or even days on end. Now it's more having an hour to write, and I think learning to switch off the editor is an important skill for me to learn. After all, I *love* editing, so it's not really going to be a hardship to go back and re-write.

In any case, it's been a very good experience so far, and even if my enthusiasm goes to crap in the next couple of week I think I'll have learned something. That's all good. :)

Date: 2006-11-07 04:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eucritta.livejournal.com
I've so far found it lots of fun, and in large part it's because what I've written doesn't matter in the least. No-one's waiting for it, no-one expects my story to be good or even coherent - all that matters is that, by the end of each day, I've got several hundred words of it down.

Date: 2006-11-07 03:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] janegraddell.livejournal.com
Yep! It's very liberating. My only worry now is that I'll run out of story before I get to 50,000 words....

Date: 2006-11-08 07:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] graculus.livejournal.com
I know what the editing thing is like, and that's been my own particular issue to avoid this time around.

I'm already at the point of thinking that while this is an interesting experiment, I can't see it significantly changing how I write the rest of the time (both in terms of the usual need for editing over and over, and the fact I don't always write in as linear a fashion as this has forced me to) and that, if I get it done this year, I don't expect I'll sign up again in the future.

Still, go you! Oh, and I can't wait to read yours, once it's been edited to your satisfaction - shall we say sometime in 2008? ;)


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