So, yeah. First of all, I think NaNoWriMo is a fantastic idea. I’ve heard the criticisms from those who feel differently but I don’t agree with that point of view. How can something not be great if it motivates people to do what they’ve been meaning to, in some cases, for a very long time? Why would you want to rain on that parade? But there’s another side to NaNoWriMo—the dark side. Yep, guilt. It’s like that diet that never quite happens or that promise to hit the gym more that doesn’t pan out (notice passive voice there). It makes you feel like a loser. That’s me and NaNoWriMo. Every year, I really want to participate. Honestly, I totally do. I want to have that nifty word count gauge proudly displayed on my blog. I want to show the world that I’m creating a new novel in less time that it takes most people to rake their lawn. So, what’s stopping me?
That’s exactly what I keep asking myself. This year I told myself I’d plunge in and join the fun. Okay, I did just finish a new novel last week. But it took me two and a half months to write it. I know. I probably shouldn’t admit that publicly. That’s considered ridiculously slow these days. But, for me, that’s pretty darned good and I can thank people like Johnny, Sean and Dave (fellow indies, you know who I’m talking about) for enlightening me to the effectiveness of “story beats.” Damn, who knew outlines actually worked. I always thought they were for the weak. For the record, I will never pants my way through anything again. The result (for me, at least) is that I basically I’ve had to rewrite the whole damned thing and that’s just a total waste of time. But you might notice here that I’ve digressed. Am I maybe avoiding the NaNoWriMo question? I kind of get the feeling I am. So, what’s my excuse?
Is it fear of failure? Well, no. I don’t think so. I can deal with failure. I fail at many things. Sports, for example. Yeah, I’m pretty bad at most of those (although I’m a decent swimmer and an active person—just for the record). Maybe it’s fear of public failure? That actually might be closer to the truth since I totally know there’s no way I’m going to produce even a decent draft in 30 days. There, I said it. That’s the truth. Okay, maybe if I quit my job and totally ignore my family. Then, I think I might be able to pull it off. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure I’d fall far short of the goal. Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there are lots of people who can produce quality work in that timeframe, even as they balance other demanding aspects of their life. I’m just not one of those people.
That’s my problem, not yours. I’ll just have to deal with it. So, I guess this is my way of saying to all of you who’ve committed to the NaNoWriMo endeavor that I admire you. I support you. I envy you a little. Most of all, though, I wish you all the luck in the world and can’t wait to read your novels! Meanwhile, I’m hoping to finish editing my new book by the end of the month. Should I admit that it takes me that long? I realize that’s not very impressive but it’s just the truth. I’ll be lucky if I finish my edits that quickly (probably, I won’t). You can see here why I can’t possibly feed Amazon sufficiently as so many seem to be attempting by publishing a new book every month or so in response to the “30 Day Cliff.” I honestly have no idea how that’s even possible but I do know it’s not possible for me.
So, I guess I won’t be going to the party again this year. I’ll be staying home, struggling with guilt and the sense of being a social media outcast who can’t rightfully employ #NaNoWriMo in any of my Twitter posts (but I can retweet to show support, right?). I’ll be slowly slogging my way through the new novel one paragraph at a time, hoping to polish it up and make it worthy of publishing. I guess that too is something of an admirable goal but I fully realize it’s not nearly as cool or exciting. Still, please wish this slowpoke good luck and I will do the same to all of you. Good luck, guys! Maybe next year. Maybe…