I didn’t think it could be done, but somehow it happened. I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days. Fifty thousand words.
I really like how the NaNoWriMo (National Noveling Writing Month) challenge gives me permission to suck. I can ignore my inner critic. I don’t need to think about the mediocre quality of what I am writing. It is just about the word count.
After participating in NaNoWriMo, I have a sense of pride and achievement. I have produced more than I otherwise would. I have written a rough draft. And writing a rough draft gives me a larger appreciation of the books that I love.
Another thing I like about the NaNoWriMo challenge is the deadline. I know, deadlines suck. But the NaNoWriMo challenge shows how meeting achievable daily goals can help you meet your larger goal.
I excel at procrastination. I wiggle out of deadlines that I set for myself because I have a high-speed Internet connection and poor impulse control. It takes me eight hours of fluffing to complete one hour of work.
I fail to meet deadlines that other people set. I ask for extensions, or I don’t complete the task at all (unless I am shamed because I am letting someone down).
But I love deadlines. I adore the pressure of being under a deadline—not at the time, of course. At the time, I hate it. I resent it. I am angry about it. But I love how a deadline encourages me—forces me—to get things done. And the satisfaction that comes after meeting a deadline is very sweet indeed.
A while back I read Time’s excellent interview with Jonathan Franzen (author of The Corrections and Freedom). To avoid procrastinating, Mr Franzen disabled the Internet connection on his writing laptop. Even so, it took Mr Franzen nine years to write Freedom. He gave up HAVING A FAMILY to write Freedom.
I am struggling with this. How do I follow my own ambition—earning a living by publishing novels—without being neglectful of my child and husband?
Is taking time for myself incredibly selfish—especially if my ambition—writing novels—doesn’t produce (and likely won’t produce) any income?
I shouldn’t think about this now. I just need to focus on my manuscript and make it the best that I can. O.K. Next comes twenty or thirty rounds of revising. Congratulations to everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo. Onward...