It’s mid-October as I am writing this, but it will be late October by the time you read it. I’m assuming we’re now living in a wild future of Cubs championships, and someone finally getting Donald Trump to say his name backwards so that he disappears back to his dimension of shriveled pumpkins and shouting*. Now that the major crises of our time are-p winding down, I want to direct our attention now to an entirely different plight.
Do you have friends who fancy themselves novelists**? Well, they may be ramping up to that greatest of challenges: NaNoWriMo***. National Novel Writing Month. One book. Thirty days. 50,000 words****.
It’s not for the faint of heart. For that matter, I can’t understate the importance of exercises meant to strengthen and loosen up your wrists. I participated for the first time last year, and “won,” to use their term. I came in at 57,309 words and completed the first draft of what will hopefully one day become The Once and Future Orson Welles…*****
And I kind of wish I hadn’t done it at all. I may not have been in the best state of mind going into November 2015, and I think that gave the writing I produced that whole month a decidedly rushed feeling. A character pops up in Chapter One, I abandon him by Chapter Three, and then I realize that the plot falls apart without the mystery person****** before I type the words “Epilogue.” I have yet to master the muted nature of the story, and am only now finding an internal life that might save it. And the title? Oh boy, did that title elude my conscious mind until just a few short months ago.
And this is all fine. This is the work of rough drafts. Vomit some words and then spend the next year trying to mold them into something worth someone else’s time. But for me, NaNo became an endurance test, fueled by increasingly daredevil amounts of caffeine and a steady diet of Rocky soundtracks. But, writing shouldn’t be an endurance test, or at least it doesn’t have to be. Creating a writing career for yourself? That is where the endurance comes in. The better rough drafts I have written, I was relaxed and able to let my mind wander ahead of me from time to time. NaNo doesn’t really allow for that. Just as you finish your word count for the day, another day comes careening right behind it. Unfortunately, you can’t claim it’s a religious holiday and get off of work. Also, you can order T-shirts. I can see it being a wonderfully valuable thing for someone to jump start the work ethic that is needed to bring a novel into reality, but I don’t think diligence about regular writing is my problem. I need to like doing this for it to still be worth doing. If I don’t, then it might as well be my day job.
So, I’m not going to do NaNo this month. I did, however, think I should do something to test my endurance, or somehow re-enforce my writing. For a brief moment, I considered doing the exact opposite of NaNo and not write a single word for the entire month. I could try living a little and re-connect with the things that made me want to write in the first place. But then, I realized that if I spend even one day not writing, I’m a walking, talking headache medicine commercial*******. If I were to try for thirty days, I would quickly become a poster child for the Toht school of exfoliation.
So, I quickly ruled out not writing at all. I will try to clear the decks of any other projects I have been working on, and really bear down and try to fix the book I wrote one year ago. While I have spent the last several months working out many of the details of “The Fourth Wall********”, I think I have cleared my brain of all the muck I’ve gathered in the writing of The Once and Future Orson Welles that I can attack its problems once again, and this time a little more productively. I know I can. I just have to take my time.
And yet, there is still the matter of testing my endurance. I could try watching Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Again. The Ultimate Edition, no less. Not quite the restorative experience I might have otherwise hoped for. It might behoove me to try and get back on track with my reading goals for the year. I’m well below my quota, and am in very reasonable danger of not making the goal for the first time in several years. Sadly, even if I were to somehow read a book a day for the whole month, I would still be running behind.
I really should work on getting back into shape. After a smattering of health issues last year and losing a fine walking buddy in CJ, I’ve let my physical activity slide, and its starting to show. If I keep letting these things slide, there may come a day very soon when I can’t try to get any healthier. So, instead of writing at least 1,667 words every day, I’m going to go walking. I’ll take a book with me and I will walk as far as I can before I feel I have to turn back. It won’t get me fit as a fiddle again, I’m sure, but it just might get me back on the right track. I think I can do it. I mean, I wrote a novel in a month… I can do anything, right?
*Note from the future/present: Boy, did I call that one wrong. I forgot to factor in the possibility of Anthony Weiner. And one should never negate the possibility of Anthony Weiner giving a Yeoman’s effort in ruining things.
**Of course you do. If you’re reading this, chances are you know me personally. With that being said, if you enjoy what you see here, please tell your friends about the blog… That is, your other friends. Don’t tell me about Bloggy B. Bloggington, DDS. It’s already on my RSS feed.
***Don’t ask me how to pronounce it. Just like with religion, each person has to look in their heart and decide what the truth is. If you want to say the word like it is a homonym of “kumquat,” then by all means…
****Or 1,667 words per day, for those of you that just got a nosebleed looking at that many zeros.
*****Did I just reveal the title of Orson Book 3? I guess I just did. Gah, now I have to go actually finish the damned thing.
******Okay. You twisted my arm. I admit it. I tried to cut Orson Welles out of The Once and Future Orson Welles. Probably should have picked up on that one earlier than I did.
*******Does that make me an addict? Maybe. So what? There are far worse things to be addicted to in this world.
********Coming soon, from Party Now, Apocalypse Later Industries!