Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On Writing for Oneself

Ran out of gas for this year's Nano. The fact is, it wasn't much fun this time around. I think it stemmed from being too organized and too prepared for the event. Like it or not, I do my best writing with very few notes. A detailed outline seems to drain every drop of excitement from a project.

Nano's supposed to be a fun challenge: write the most words possible and quality be damned. In the beginning it was thus, but then the spectre of publication reared its ugly head. Intellectually, I knew that my Nano work was not destined for anything but self-publication. I knew it and wanted it that way. But then 'what-ifs' started popping up: "Nah, I don't care about paid publication, but what if it happens? Others have been discovered. . .even through Nano.", etc. etc.

The rationalizations got more pathetic, desperate and insistent as November progressed. I was dutifully following my prescribed outline and my 'what-if' voices were having a field day. All the while my conscious mind was rebelling against all of this. What happened to all the fun Nano used to be?

In the end, I had to give up this year's effort to shut the voices up. Once again I've learned what I already knew: I really only want to write for myself and I don't like detailed outlines. But after reading some nifty books about how much easier writing is by outlining everything in advance, I got carried away and started practically projecting a whole writing career, for kripes sake. That way lay madness.

So once again I've run smack into my contradictions and limitations concerning writing. And once again, the verdict is: write for yourself and have fun.

And I'll be doing Nano again next year. Hopefully without  all those lousy voices.

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