I’ve mentioned the idea of me trying this to a couple people and gotten a reaction, basically, of, “Are you sure you should be spending your time on this?” The answers that come to mind are:
- Of course I shouldn’t be spending time on this. What a silly question.
- I don’t expect to do this to the exclusion of my other duties as an unemployed layabout. After all, many of the people participating in this are trying to fit it in around their full-time jobs. I’m not going to stop job hunting, interviewing, working on my portfolio page so I have a better chance of getting freelance stuff, and so on.
- In fact, that’s a lot of the point, isn’t it? Forcing you to figure out a way to make time for your writing. If there’s any consistent theme in my life, it’s poor time management, and while I’ve figured out how to successfully compensate for that when I’m in an office job (as much as people hate Outlook, it becomes my friend)—still not so good there on the home front.
- After three months out of the office, I’m finding my biggest problem is lack of focus, a tendency to just drift. Yes, whether piling on more personal tasks is an appropriate way to respond to this is debatable. But I’ve moved from serene drifting through restless drifting and am now well into frustrated drifting. It’s either this, or sell all my possessions—except the Powerbook, of course—and flee to Baja.
- Last and possibly least, I have a superstitious belief that the universe tends to magnify inconvenience when you give it a catalyst (cf. my driver’s license). If all of my free time is filled without being actually employed, that improves my chances of actually getting a job.
The way I’m accustomed to writing is almost the opposite of what you need to do for NaNoWriMo. I brainstorm a lot beforehand. I write backstories for characters. Unless the entire story’s come to my mind all at once, I’m going to do a least a sketchy outline, even for something that’s just a few thousand words long. I write fairly slowly through first drafts, generally writing in sequential order rather than jumping around to scenes I already “know.” Sometimes this works really well—when I go through a first draft cleaning it up, I usually don’t have any serious changes to make, just a lot of “tightening”—but when it bogs me down, it bogs me down pretty damn thoroughly. Part of my rationale for trying this is to see if I can get better at just sitting down and writing, no matter how “unprepared” I feel for the story I’m trying to tell.
I’m edging toward a particular never-started novel I’m going to try with. More about it later—maybe. Assuming I get anywhere on this, I’m not going to be posting the actual writing as I go. I have no idea what feedback I’m going to give at all, really, although I won’t be completely silent on it.