NaNoWriMo 2008 is almost upon us and I am starting to wonder what the hell I got myself into. Will I really manage to write 1667 words on average each and every day in November? Well we will surely find out… It’ll be interesting, as I am having trouble being creative the last few days, for various reasons that shan’t be discussed on the blog.
Back when I was a teenager, I used to actually write. A lot. Unfortunately twenty years and several problems with my computers mean that I have almost nothing left from those days. Even so, I don’t need to read it again to know that it was pretty much garbage. The difference is that today I recognize the drivel when I put it in a file, and I automatically try to rework it as I do so.
NaNoWriMo forces me to stop doing that. If I don’t, I’ll never complete 50k words. As I spend many hours outlining, I still think “this is nonsense, this wouldn’t happen, this is bad”. But then, after torturing myself for some time over the last three bullet points, I finally tell myself: “It doesn’t have to be good, that is what revisions are for, it just has to get done.”
I had never imagined just how difficult it is to deal with that inner critic. It’s a great lesson, though. After all, isn’t the inner critic also what keeps us from taking chances in other situations?
“Oh, I shouldn’t apply for that job. I doubt I could make it.” And maybe miss out on a good job.
“I shouldn’t talk to that stranger, even though there is a reason to do so. I shouldn’t bother him.” And maybe miss out on an interesting conversation or possibly even a new friend.
“I shouldn’t bother approaching that girl, she’s way out my league.” And maybe miss out on, hey, a whole lot.
I am not saying taking part in NaNoWriMo will make me bother strangers, women, and potential employers afterwards, but in my opinion everything that lets you look at yourself and think about how you deal with the world is a fairly good thing.
As a bonus, I may call myself an “unpublished writer” afterwards.
Now… if you’ll excuse me, I have half a novel to outline, and three and a half days to do it.