well yeah, I guess it’s obvious, I also like to write

This post sounded a lot different in its first draft.

This post would have been all about how I want to take part in NaNoWriMo, but I think the concept’s silly*, so I’m going to do my own thing instead. It would have been called MyNoWriMo (get it? because I’m a clever guy. I’ll explain it to you if you want), and it’d be about how I’m writing a novel in the month of October. The post would have closed with an apology for infrequent posts over the next thirty days, but I would be sure you’d understand. Because you’re supportive.

And then I took on two new projects at work. So, with regret, I’m not going to try writing a novel in one month.

I’m going to write a novel in three months.

Sixty thousand words. I already have the entire thing outlined, from beginning to end. I feel better about this one than any project I’ve started in the last few years, because it excites me. The other two novels had exciting parts, but I felt I had to pad the word count out to get to them. Not this one. Cliffhangers left and right. It’s almost a formula. Hell, it is a formula. And I think I have it figured out.

So, again, bear with me if posts grow scarce. I’ll be busy.

* Briefly: (A) I believe that reliable, professional work comes from a dedication to the practice of writing, not relying on bursts of inspiration and sudden sprints; as such, while I don’t sneer at people who try NaNoWriMo – I applaud all attempts at writing, seriously – I’d be much more impressed by someone who writes five novels over sixty months than one novel in one month; and (B) if you’re going to pick a month to challenge people to write 50,000 words, don’t pick a month which has the busiest American travel holiday in it. That’s just poor planning.


3 Responses

  1. Did you voluntarily take on these new projects? Are they projects that require you to spend more than 40 hours per week at work, or that you work nights, weekends, or whenever you would ordinarily write?

    I ask, because I’m fascinated with they way people reconcile the conflicting demands made on their time by their creative ambitions and their square jobs — and one of the reasons I read your blog is that you write about it now and again. You’ve tended to favor the pursuit of your writing career over advancement in the 9 to 5 world if I recall correctly, and I applaud you for it. I hope I’m not detecting a shift in preferences.

    Sorry to pry, but like I said, I am fascinated with the way people resolve this dilemma, and would be disheartened somewhat to find that you too are simply giving the mill the grist it demands without protest.

    • I don’t talk much about work on here, but yes, these are voluntary new projects. They won’t require additional time outside of the 40 hours I put in normally – with one exception, but that exception’s peculiar to October.

      Also, these new projects will engage more parts of my brain. I know a lot of people talk up the benefits of a “mindless” day job to save their creativity for the evening, but I’ve never had that experience.

      Also also, I vaguely recall you coming at this subject from the other side of the coin four or more years ago.

      • Did I really? You may be right. For my own part, I was certainly more optimistic on the material and psychic rewards a career of 60-70 hour weeks on Wall Street could bring when I started on that path four years ago, and felt warm inside when it occurred to me that I would never use Final Draft again.

        But I will say this — should I decide, at this flashpoint in my career, to take a mindless day job in order to spare brain power for my evenings, my writing hours will be more productive by a factor of mid to high single digits. The past four years have dramatically raised my floor of minumum daily accomplishment.

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