This is the question that has been plaguing me these past few days. After beating NaNoWriMo for the third time last November, and managing to write an extended 75000 words in 29 days (I finished one day early due to a miraculous 11000 word day right at the end of the month), I felt amazing, almost invincible, but then, after some contemplation, lazy. Why? Because it occurred to me that I write like there is no tomorrow for one month of the year, and then slack off and barely write a thing for the remainder of the year.
So what did I do?
I drank enormous amounts of wine to celebrate the fact that I even wrote one novel a year. I decided that I should challenge myself by writing more over the whole year. At first the idea of this blog came to me, but some voice deep inside taunted me, told me I could do better than that, I could push myself harder than that. I love a challenge, even if it is coming from my own inner voice of unreasoning, and so I came up with this idea of writing 12 novellas in 12 months. I figured, a novella is roughly 100 pages in paperback form, or 30 000 words, so it averages out at 1000 words a day. I can handle that, I thought – if I could write 75000 words in a month, I can surely do 30000 words every month for a whole year.
What I didn’t count on was that I just wouldn’t be in the mood. What I also didn’t count on was that I would sit down, start my first novella, and hate it within a couple of weeks, forcing myself to start from scratch, stuff around for a couple of days, and leave myself with only 2 weeks to write the whole thing. What I didn’t count on was this situation I now find myself in – 9 days left, and I’m only 7500 words into it. Do the maths – this is beginning to look an awful lot like last November. Oh joy… Anyway, so the novella is now a Dystopian Comedy, set about 250 years in the future, in Australia. No, really. I don’t know why, I don’t know where this idea came from, and I have no clue where it is going. But actually it’s kind of fun. I really just hope I have a couple of ‘miracle’ days of writing again. Preferably soon.
Some people have asked why I am doing this anyway, especially when I have the first drafts for three different novels, two of which I have admitted I would like to rewrite and edit to the point of them being, perhaps one day, publishable. The reason is that I simply don’t feel I am a good enough writer to rewrite those novels to the standard I want. I feel like I haven’t written enough, I haven’t created enough, I haven’t experimented enough with different kinds of writing. So by making myself write all year long, and not only under such a strict regime but also in 12 different genres, I am hoping that my writing will improve in leaps and bounds as the year progresses, and that next year, in 2013, I will finally be able to sit down and will possess the skills necessary to give my old novels the rewrite they so desperately need and deserve. Furthermore, I just love creating new stories, and writing a story down for the first time, even more so if I haven’t planned it in the slightest and am just making it up as I go along (something which is happening with my current novella).
Though I feel like the odds are against me, and the pressure is really on, I already know I am going to get through this. I know I will finish this novella, and the other eleven novellas, and in a way I feel I have no choice as about thirty to forty other people found this on the NaNoWriMo forums and are now doing this with me as well – so considering I created the monster, I should also ensure I slay it (oh man that was a terrible analogy).
What was I thinking when I created this goal? It is a mystery that may never be solved…
What writing goals have you all set yourselves this year? How are you all feeling about them several weeks into the year?