So I tried to do NaNoWriMo. I failed! The time commitments proved too onerous for the father of a five and not-quite-one-year-old at the time to overcome. I really should rename this blog “Writing Excuses” based on content, but Sanderson et al. have that locked down. It’s irritating, but adulting happens. I think I’d be more likely to accomplish the feat if I had a less demanding job, but as it stands, I have to have my head on a swivel day and night.
For anyone not familiar, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month and is a project that promotes writing a 50,000 page novel during the month of November. I attempted it for the first time last fall and couldn’t keep up with the pace by the middle of the month. I started strong, but family and work commitments caused me to lose pace and fall behind.
Whining aside, I actually did fairly well. I managed just over 16,000 words on a completely new story with little forethought on the content. Lack of planning was actually a success in my estimation. I’m a heavy self-editor, and it more often slows my work down rather than keeping me “efficient.” In this instance, I was writing freeform in a very stream-of-consciousness manner. It was very much a first draft, and I really liked most of the concepts and ideas I had for the work. Looking back months later, I still believe I can potentially complete the work as envisioned rather than using it as a jumping off point. I’ve continued to think about how to advance the story and flesh it out when I can.
I just need to make time to continue to write. The NaNoWriMo project has a process for advancement by which you attend camps and set aside time in the spring to continue the work. I realize that I just don’t have the luxury of scheduling a week, let alone a month, to continue. I absolutely have to make time when I can to write as much as possible rather than scheduling blocks of time to write a set word count.
If you read any number of writers bios or acknowledgements, you will often read a passage or more in which they thank their family and friends for putting up with their constant absenteeism brought about by the desire to soldier on and write one more page. I can’t honestly say that I have that level of commitment, but I also don’t know that I can make that much time even if I was sufficiently driven. It’s a struggle to rationalize my failure to make time for something that truly makes me happy. But by the same token, my family makes me happy.
I came to fatherhood later in life. I was a little aimless in my twenties, so I started adulting in my 30s. I’m almost 42, and I have a one-year-old. Life is a little difficult to schedule at this point. Again, I know that’s just an excuse, especially considering I’ve managed to play a handful of hours of video games on a weekly basis the last month or so. I could absolutely spend that time writing or at least reading, which is also something I’ve neglected the last few months, but I think the ability to quiet my mind and just exist in the game has been more cathartic than scratching my creative itch.
I’ll stop here. I’m making excuses. I’m setting a reminder to at least blog regularly. If that works out, I’ll naturally have my text editor up and might just write a page or two of a draft. I might actually do that now. Wish me luck.