It’s tempting, truly. The idea that, for one whole month you (too) can focus on your writing and complete an entire first draft. There’s a certain common sense to it that makes you think I can do that–I can set aside every other thing in my life for a mere thirty days and give the words their life! I mean, I want to. I want to do that every day, TBH. Isn’t that the dream? So NaNoWriMo (and it’s devilish offshoots, like Camp NaNo) are basically telling you that you (too) can live your dream for a month. And you’ll love it so much you’ll never go back to your old normal.
This is basically bullshit, kids. I mean, November? Where, at least in America, one of the biggest holidays on the calendar immediately threatens your NaNo plan. The lead-in to Christmas, the Most Commercial of All Holidays? No bueno. Even if that were the ONLY issue, it’s usually enough for me to pump the brakes. Then there’s other things, like jobs and kid’s school and sports and home ownership and oil changes that get in the way on a “normal” basis.
And, maybe it’s just me, but can’t you see the guilt coming for you, like a bull charging down Main Street of a dusty western town? I can, and I ain’t signing up for that. It’s a catch-22. If I do it and fail, I feel guilty but if I don’t even try? In some neighborhoods, that’s even worse. I’m not down for a guilt-fest in any month, nor am I down for celebrating less than I should accomplish just because someone christened it NaNo month. Even if I don’t meet my goal, I get a gold star just for playing.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from listening to the pros, it’s that motivation is crap. Sure, you can get hyped up and maybe parlay that into an entire month of production. But discipline, real discipline and motivation are internal. You do or do not. And, because I’ve never been much for following a herd, I’m going to skip NaNo (and things like it) for oh, say, the rest of my life and simply focus on disciplining myself to meet my goals year round.
After all, if you can write a book in a month, shouldn’t you be able to write twelve of them in a year? Yeah, I think I’ll just do me.