Responsible Writing?

I have a (possibly unrealistic) goal of finishing my revisions of draft 3 before November so that I can (theoretically) participate in NaNoWriMo. I tend to do it every other year, and this is supposed to be one of my “on” years. Guilting myself keeps me making progress on ETD, and while making that goal looks to be challenging, I don’t think it’s impossible.

But then I started to wonder — do I really want to complete revisions on this draft on October 31 and throw myself into the frenzy of something new November 1? What ever happened to taking a “break” between projects? Not to mention the fact that I don’t really want to give my boss, my clients, my boyfriend, my pets, my friends, or my family the shaft as I try to find a way to squeeze out 2,000 words in a day. Wouldn’t it be better if I could languish throughout October and daydream and jot notes for the brilliance that will happen in November? The truth is, while I’ve fantasized about my upcoming Rapunzel retelling (the most likely candidate should I choose to accept the NaNo challenge), I know that squeezing 50,000 words out of my current ideas and schedule may just be a little crazy.

Of course, there’s also this part of  me that says I’m just making excuses. Still, I’m beginning to wonder if tackling another NaNoWriMo might be a bit irresponsible. Not because my dishes tend to pile up even worse in November, or because I eat frozen meals all month, or because I become glued at the hip to my laptop, or because I get less sleep, or because I’m a bore to be around because all I can think/talk about is my novel. No, it’s because I have seven novels that are all waiting to be revised and polished and — dare I say it? — submitted (OK, so at least one of those has no business being revised and submitted, but still). And I keep telling myself that I will not start a new project until I’ve put some honest time and energy into marketing what I’ve got. Sometimes I think starting a new novel is just a way for me to avoid what it takes to become the kind of writer I want to be — one that gets published. And doesn’t NaNoWriMo just play right into that? I know some people need NaNo to motivate them to write novels at all — but motivating myself to write novels has never really been an issue for me.

In some ways, I feel like a woman who is considering getting pregnant again even though she isn’t properly feeding and caring for the multitude of children she’s already birthed, just because new life is so exciting. But it’s not November yet. And until then, I’ve got plenty to do wiping the grime off the stories that already exist.

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5 Responses to Responsible Writing?

  1. Jenna says:

    First off, I see you have a “Share This” thingy on your entries now. If you have any control over what sites go there – could you add a Twitter button?

    I think that if you have an idea for your next novel, you’re going to write eventually – be it November or not. November will just make it happen. What I like about NaNoWriMo is the community (the message boards & the meet-ups). And there’s something magical about the frenzy (and knowing it’ll all be over December 1st).

    I made a list of your novels and tried to figure out which one you think has no business being revised and submitted … is it novel #2?

    • Yup, it’s novel #2.

      In theory, I really like the community aspect of NaNoWriMo, but I’ve never actually participated in it much (or been satisfied when I did). But now that you mention it, it might be a good way for me to meet other writers in my new location . . .

      • Jenna says:

        I see that I missed a few words that I intended in my comment (I was distracted by my boss!). I wanted to say that “November will just make it happen SOONER.”

        If you do NaNo, we can have another one of those awesome on-line write-ins together!

        I can see you’re still weighing your decision. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were still undecided up until the morning of November 1st. (Which falls on a Monday this year. Not very helpful.)

        I like novel #2. 🙂

  2. You’ve helped me re-like novel #2, too. But I still don’t really want to publish it.

  3. […] the stress, the comraderie! of this month of exuberant, frantic writing. And although I’m not participating this year, I am hoping to do all I can to support those who are: I created a NaNoWriMo page for the girls at […]

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