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November 18, 2001: Took me long enough

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It is day 18 of Nanowrimo. At 4:30 in the afternoon, I am currently sitting at 21,000 words. After struggling significantly all this past week I have more than doubled my word count, but I still have 9000 more words to catch up to where I really should be by now. I have a page of notes on pieces of my plot that will at least allow me to get that far, and based on what has happened so far this month, I have no doubt I'll come up with yet another piece of the plot when these are done, so that I can continue to write.

I've been writing in spurts. I see posts from other Nanowrimers who are forcing themselves to write a proscribed number of words per day, but until now I have avoided any attempt to do this, mainly because throughout all the time I've ever written in my life, I only ever do it when I feel like it. Doesn't matter when the assignment was due - I'd write it when I felt inspired. Luckily I was always inspired in time - although I very quickly discovered my tendency for extreme procrastination.

But I'm realizing that allowing myself the luxury of letting it sit isn't necessarily going to work this time, and I'm forcing myself to get the words down.

I don't like writing when I don't feel comfortable with the words. I'd rather write when inspiration strikes because that way I at least have the chance that what comes out might be remotely good. Why bother to churn out words if it's not going to be worth reading later?

And therein lies the crux of my problem. The whole focus of Nanowrimo is, of course, on quantity not quality. In fact, they make it very clear that Nanowrimo is not for the person who takes their writing seriously. And honestly I haven't really ever tried to take any stories I create too seriously, but still, there's the little matter of pride, and I'm just not normally willing to let my name be associated with something if I can't feel actually proud of having been involved. It doesn't matter that no other living person might ever read this - that's not the point. The point is that I have to be happy with it myself.

So I'm facing the realization that I must allow myself to - for lack of a better term - write crap. I have to allow myself to churn out the words and not waste energy worrying over the fact that the conversation might be stilted; the descriptions too sparse; the action inconsistent with what happened before.

I knew this thing was going to be hard to do. But I thought the hardest part would simply be getting a mind that's always focused on short stories to focus on a plot complex and interesting enough to hold out over more than 200 pages.

Silly, silly me.

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