I write this from the remnants of NaNoWriMo 2012.
It’s November 19 and I have around 10,000 words that I simply do not like. I don’t feel any excitement. I don’t feel any investment. I don’t feel any momentum. I’ve been adding words solely because I have to add words. And that suddenly struck me as exactly the wrong reason to be writing anything.
Last year was different. I liked what I was doing. I was surprising myself with where the story was going. There was more to it than just “the hook.” I had a pretty clear idea of the ending; the challenge was getting there, and I was eager to see how I could pull it off. This year, it’s been all hook. Nothing beyond the initial concept. No path, just a meandering journey in search of a story. It’s been like throwing more and more clay on a sculpture hoping it eventually ends up looking like something. And what I’ve ended up with just looks like a big lump of clay.
I’m discouraged, but not disappointed. I’m not looking at it as a failure. Yeah, I know, I’d put some high hopes to finishing two years in a row — and I technically still have eleven days, although with Thanksgiving and the Louis CK show in Tampa, I doubt I’ll have much time to throw at it — but I’m also not going to declare this some life-defining defeat. Stuff happened and I didn’t reach a self-imposed, arbitrarily determined number of words in a set amount of time. That’s it.
But I do want to use this as an opportunity to double down on some other things that I let slip to the side while I tried to do NaNoWriMo this year. Like getting this blog back on a regular schedule. And giving some time to some other projects that deserve more serious attention than a 30-day sprint. NaNoWriMo is a great thing, don’t get me wrong; I felt really good about myself when I finished last year. But I’m not going to feel down because I didn’t this year. Writing anything worthwhile is a marathon. I need to be in it for the long haul, not for one furious month.