The last time i got through NaNoWriMo i tried to blog every day while i was working on what i shall now euphemistically call ‘The Thing’. This year i’m just lollygagging my way through and enjoying the view from the lofty heights of novelling. What’s the difference? Well i’m a heckuva lot less neurotic about the whole thing for one thing. Last time it was a brawl. A fight. An epic battle. I’d never done one before and i was sort of out of the writing game seeing as i was recovering from… well… recovering from something.
This year i’ve been there before. The novel i worked on never got finished. it may someday, but it’s doubtful. It wasn’t about finishing the novel, though, and that’s the big thing. I was stuck. A lot of things had happened since the last time i scooped up the pen (or keyboard) and i didn’t quite know how to get anything kickstarted. Nano changed that, in a good yoda-on-your-back, yeah-just-you-try-to-pull-that-xwing-from-the-mud, sort of way. So good, but brutal.
NaNo isn’t supposed to produce Ulysees. Any idiot who thinks that is the point had better not start or they will risk thirty days of madness probably followed by thirty days of rehab. It’s about doing it. Just doing it. Putting words on the page. Making characters, listening to their stories and working furiously to get it out before those characters disappear and you never even get a postcard from them. Unfortunately i’ve been hearing a lot of garbage to the contrary this year. I’ve been hearing about the aspirations of the young and the writerly are unworthy – how they should just stop, reconsider, do something else, play tennis, sing karaoke, anything but bother with struggling over words.
I’ve read at least three different articles from three different twits complaining that NaNo deluges the literary world with an army of wannabes and neverwills. Now these articles are awfully clever, well written, crammed with the zingers and belly-rumbling witticisms we’ve come to expect from the legions of post grad lit scholars who’ve bombarded the interwebs with their polished artillery shells. They’re so. much. fun. to. read. And even more fun to blow raspberries at and ignore entirely. ’cause basically, who gives a rats ass? Well… folks who’ve dumped a stupid amount of money and ten years of their lives studying words and the construction of literature do, of course. Because if anyone could do it, what the hell did they spend all that money on?
Well i spent about half that studying words. I work in a cubicle farm. I get paid in peanut shells (yes, shells – no peanuts inside) and bile. And dammit i’m a writer. Yeah sure. He’s a writer. I made a grand total of thirty five dollars writing last year. But you know what? I write. I write because that’s what i do. I get home from my awful job after an awful commute through awful clogged, dreary, usually dark streets and i put myself in my awful little writing studio and i sit down and write for nothing. NOTHING. Why? Because i have to hit 50000 words in a month. I have to write. I have to. There’s just nothing else. It’s that or an awful lot of drinking.
So to those of you who made it and shove your anvils of caustic wisdom from the clouds of your brilliant precipice upon which the literary light shines, congrats. Kudos. Clap. Clap. Job well done. Now do as you’ve always done in times of high literary stress – devour each other. The rest of us schlubs have work to do. We’ll write our Nanos. Our silly little fiction about dragons, and wizards, and oversexed ninja gargoyles, our Doctor Who Fan Fiction. Why? For the same damned reason people sing Karaoke. To sing. Not to be a damned professional with an opinion. I think the world has quite enough of those.