Sunday, November 29, 2009

NaNo Is Over For Me

I finished my NaNo novel last night. 50,630 words about an eleven year old precocious girl who creates more mischief than even she ever dreamed of! But it isn't a story I'm really happy about, in its present form. I think once I go back and start the editing and revision process, it will come together better and I will be more satisfied. The last 5 or 6 days of the story were real work. I felt like I was batting my head against a stone wall, and was just writing to get those 50,000 words in, so I could say I was a winner. That's not how I want to write.

I've said I won't do it again. At the moment, I'm definitely not planning on doing it again. I'm wondering if I have the wrong idea about this whole NaNo thing? I know that the initial idea is to get people off their duff, and get them to writing. I know that you're supposed to use the 30 days and the 50,000 words to at least get the bare bones, the skeleton of the story down, and that supposedly, it is something you wouldn't have done if it hadn't been for NaNo.

Is that true? That's not a rhetorical it true? Is it true, that IF we are writers, we actually need something like the NaNo challenge to get us up off our respective duffs and writing? I'm sorry, but I don't believe that. If a person is a writer...really, truly committed to writing with the thought and hope of publishing...then why do we need something like this to get us motivated?

It's true that for me, I had this idea about Lily Leticia rolling around in my mind for over a year. It's true that so far, I had not written one word about her. ( Other than her name, that is.) But...I've been busy with finishing my ICL course and my novel. Then busy with final editings and getting the novel off to a publisher. But once that was done, I would have started on her story. Instead, I chose to wait until now, and do it for the NaNo challenge.

To me, it's a little like climbing Mt. Everest...a lifetime accomplishment that very few people in the world ever do. But once you've done it, why do it again, when there are so many other formidable mountains in the world to conquer? Once you have accomplished the challenge of NaNo, why do it again? Do you have to wait another year to commit yourself to writing again? Aren't there enough challenges in life and in writing to arouse your creative spirit and to dislodge those ideas hidden in the nooks and crannies of your brain?

If we, as writers, are determined to perfect our craft so that we will be proud of our stories and articles and novels...proud enough to made the decision to mail them off to publishers, and spend the agonizing time it takes to get a response...then why do we need to have a gauntlet thrown down in front of us to go ahead and write?

Don't misunderstand me: I'm not putting down NaNo, the people who created it or the people who participate. I'm just wondering if it is necessary. To do something different for a change? Okay, I'll buy that. To see if I can really, honestly write? Uh uh, don't think so. Thirty days to write 50,000 or more words means to put down anything, anywhere, even if the plot goes off in ten different directions, you've got twenty characters who don't, can't or won't interact, and you have no idea how what you're writing is going to be resolved. I can't find the learning curve in this. I don't see how this is going to help me be a better writer. A faster writer, oh yeah. A better one? Oh, no.

But...this is just me. And I'm sure that the writers who participate in NaNo year after year will fervently disagree with me on all counts. And that's okay, too !

For me, I think this one time is enough. I proved I can do it. I met the challenge head on, and won. Am I proud of the story I wrote? No. Will I be proud after all the changes, editing, revisions, eliminations and modifications? Maybe. I hope so. But you know what? I can easily envision several more months of work on it than I would have had, had I written it the way I normally do. So was it worth it? That remains to be seen.

BUT ! My husband bought me a dozen beautiful red roses yesterday just for finishing. Now...THAT was worth it !!!