For years I have wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month. I used to write when I was younger (mostly before university) and I want to write again. An organized event that asks me to write a set number of words per day, and which pretty much forbids editing before the first draft is over, seems ideal to me.
Editing has always been my downfall. As I've mentioned before, I am a perfectionist, and as such I generally spend about 10% of the time I set aside for writing actually writing, and the other 90% editing, and re-editing, what I've already written. I agonize over word choices (or sometimes even punctuation) and because what I already have "isn't good enough" I rarely move on and do more. The problem with this is that I end up with very polished beginnings that peter out and die before they get anywhere -- and if they turn out to be false starts I stick with them anyway, because by that time I have far too much invested in them to be able to simply delete and move on.
But the semi-daunting (for a person who works full time and still attempts to have a meagre social life) task of writing 1667 words per day for a month leaves little or no time for editing, and forces a person to simply produce. This can only be a good thing, because even if what I produced was drivel I could just edit it later. Editing is one of my greatest strengths as well as one of my greatest weaknesses, and I'm actually pretty good at it. But no one is skilled enough to edit a blank page.
NaNoWriMo falls in November, and that has been a problem for several reasons:
First, whenever I'm a student, November is a busy month. Hellishly busy. Filled to the brim with assignments and exam prep and other academic fun.
Second, November is the month in which my Seasonal Affective Disorder kicks into full swing, making it a terrible time to try to do anything creative. Or anything at all, really.
Third, in all of the Novembers in which I have attempted to "Wri", I have done relatively well for the first few days, until I am confronted with a semi-major life upheaval, such as changing jobs, or having to kick out a roommate, or my pet dragon catching a cold and setting the house on fire with sneezes . . .
*Note: okay, so he's actually a gecko, and it was actually just a shedding issue, but he still required more of my time and attention than he actually wants, and writing was postponed.
. . . so I find myself with a lack of time, and a lack of motivation, and suddenly it's half-way through the month and I have less than five thousand words written and I am forced to admit defeat.
So this year I have set my own challenge -- one blog per day in the month of April. Blogs are shorter. April is sunnier. And "Blog A Day Writing Month" becomes BloADaWriMo, which is just fun to say.