Watts (chipotle) wrote,

Restlessness, randomness and 'ritingness

Have you ever had one of those days where objectively things have been pretty quiet, but you’ve felt like you’ve been doing the headless chicken dance the whole time? I’ve been having a day like that a lot of this year. I won’t rehash the I am restless and want to spend a few months wandering aimlessly thing, though. Maybe this will be taken care of to some degree by a fast-approaching trip to Seattle for Conifur–which will be too short a trip, and somewhat hastily organized (I have yet to make hotel reservations, although I may take advantage of shaterri’s offer of space for a night or two).

Yesterday I picked up my Ruby LiveJournal tools to start beating on them again, in part just to get back into a Ruby frame of mind. I need to get the rest of the MUCK’s central island built, at least to a point where I can invite the prospective wizards and builders over and get them going. Which, of course, doesn’t have anything to do with Ruby directly, but I may end up writing a quick hack of a Rails-based trouble ticket system for management purposes. And the prospective revival of Claw & Quill will also be Rails-based, although it’s a project I’m likely pushing the start date back to January for peace of mind’s sake. I need to stick to one major project at a time, and that major project for October needs to be the Excursion Society. (Long-time webzine editor–and C&Q contributor–Quentin Long has picked up my considerable slack with Anthro, his own webzine. Which is good because the concept keeps going on with someone who’s quite honestly better at keeping going, and my own tentative revival plans are sufficiently different that it won’t be direct competition anyway.)

This obliquely brings up the idea of a project for November, namely, NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Last year I started a novel, referred to as “The Untitled Novel About Dragons,” and got about 23,000 words done. While that was far short of the 50,000-word goal, it wasn’t a true failure in my eyes; it broke a bit of a writers’ block that I’d had and forced me to write in a different, non-linear fashion. TUNAD was, in characteristic coyote style, pretty ambitious, and it’s something I’d like to get back to eventually. I dusted it off recently–virtually speaking–and have been rereading it, although I haven’t gone back through all my notes to see where it was going. (Where it was going was more in the 100,000-word range, I’d say, not 50,000.)

And, really, that was the value of something as nuts as this for me. I’m not under any illusion that this is a good way to produce saleable fiction, but it may be a good way to break the habit of polishing your rough draft as you write it. As an aside, if you’re an aspiring writer who talks to other aspiring writers, it’s easy to imagine that all of NaNoWriMo’s participants are; they’re not. If you go to a NaNoWriMo group, you’ll probably find most participants don’t have any interest in being novelists at all–they’re looking at the thing more as mental tai-chi, a lesson in working under pressure. It’s a good skill for everyone, and one I’m clearly overdue in re-learning myself.

NaNoWriMo rules dictate that you don’t go back to a project. You can pick up something that exists only in notes (which TUNAD had for a couple years before that), and I suppose you could start rewriting something completely from scratch. But, it’s better to do something completely different. I’m considering dusting off one of several older but undeveloped ideas, which would be completely different for me on several levels.

More later. I’ve been writing this on lunchtime, but I should really go out and, oh, get lunch.

Tags: programming, writing

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