Here be the remnants of my ruminations on my first NaNoWriMo experience. I chiselled it off my previous post, basically so you didn't end up with too much rubbish on your plate at once. Hope you enjoy!
I've learned that all you need to do something is your own will, but
you must accept that things outside your control can have an impact on
that, however big or small. Even in doing reasonably well drafting a novel, I have neglected both blogs I write for. You might say that's 'craft getting in the way of craft', but it does show how there's only so much space in life for what must happpen. I don't know what I think the answer is to this, or even if I think there is one. Either sediment'll settle eventually, or I'll be all shook up forever - never grabbing a medal anywhere, but running many races. My point is that I have the will, and I'm cracking on, so let's see.
I've learned that I really do
over-analyse [he says, over-analysing his over-analysis...], and that
this whole NaNoWriMo 'WeUp' has probably been a waste of time, or at
least doing it every day has been. Maybe one paragraph on the week's lessons
would've been more time and effort appropriate. To be quite honest, I
did it more with others in mind, hoping that other newbies/potential
converts might be made to feel better. Really, I didn't learn much more
about myself/my reaction to different modes/genres, and I should've been
concentrating more on technique and aesthetics, but that's something
for another time... There's still more work to go into it, but I'll try and only give you another update when my novel is a world-wide bestseller...
I've learned that technology still has
Satan in it. Laptops distract - a ruler bar over here, a
blinking cursor just there and then the internet everywhere... Normally I write onto paper first [as with what you're reading right now]. It helps me get into the flow and get lost in my mind, but that's just me.
I've learned that, while it has felt good to get words down and feel
productive, the relentless attitude of inflexible 'scientific' goals
[i.e. 'measurable' or 'numeric' or whatever] can damage, or at least change,
your approach. Does it matter if you're a sporadic/fluctuating writer
in terms of output? Is it better to write one word a day, or a week, and
build up something beautiful over time, rather than go for power and
pressure, only to end by beating yourself up because you fell short of
an arbitrary mark?
Is encouraging writers [current or future]
to think of art as a defined target, rather than an end produced in a
purely personal way, full of twists and turns in its own right, the way
to go? Not that I'm necessarily saying I think that NaNoWriMo does encourage that, I'm just genuinely asking. I think there's the threat of these things, but maybe that's where natural temperament and talent come in. Maybe?
It does give people a drive and focus, which is good, but should there
be a NaNoWriMo - and/or other generic equivalents [NaPoWriMo,
NaScriWriMo etc] - where the encouragement is to expand conceptual
playfulness as opposed to 'raw stamina/distance'. But then I suppose
that's what we try and do every day. All creative writing is an
experiment. Also, I suppose our lives are what build our stamina, our distance, and we can only hope that the habits we form are the ones we want to keep [and here I snigger at myself...]. I do think that this Novembral event can, if you're not
one already, start you on your way to being a writer. Even if it takes
you five years to ever pick up a pen/tap a key again, then it might've helped you. Then there'll be
people, probably, who have the required number of words but never think
about their work again - and there's nowt wrong wi' that.
Peace, love and light.