Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Bad Idea

I'm pretty busy these days with my grad school work. My thesis is due next month. Work is keeping me busy, too. Plus I'm reading and reviewing RPGs for Geek Native. So I really don't need another project right now.

Yet I'm considering NaNoWriMo, anyway.

NaNoWriMo (http://nanowrimo.org/about), short for National Novel Writing Month, is a literacy non-profit that calls on writers across the world to belt out a complete (50,000 words, or about 200 pages) novel in the month of November. The whole idea is to get all connected and shit with the writing community, work hard to get your Big Idea down on paper, and otherwise promote creative writing.

Every year when November comes around, I always flirt a little with the idea of doing it. I'm not a physical dude, so the idea of doing foolish self-affirming activities like running a marathon or skydiving don't hold much appeal to me. But the mental equivalents, like writing a novel, unfortunately do appeal to my ego.

As you can see, I have a sort of cynical view on all this stuff. I have written my entire life. I have one degree in it, about a month away from getting a second degree in it, I do it for a living for the federal government, and I'm going to transition into a career teaching it. I have written a novel, a screenplay, short stories, essays, movie reviews, literary analysis, social commentary, and memoirs, some of which have been published. And that's not even counting this blog or the vast amounts of writing I do for my hobby. I'm over writing. It holds no sex appeal to me.

Yet I'm considering NaNoWriMo, anyway.

This has always been my relationship with writing. I do not love writing. I am not that guy who bounces out of bed at the crack of dawn and gazes thoughtfully out the window, MacBook and a cup of coffee beside him, ready to write the next great American novel. I am not that dude who sits at Starbucks all day, absorbed in his own bubble as he types up what he is certain will be the Next Big Thing in the world of literature. I am not the super-fan who dominates online forums with fan fiction, dreaming of the day when it's my name that shows up on the screen, beneath those two magical words "written by." I hate those guys.

I don't trust anybody who loves to write. Writing is hard, brutal work. It's taking all of your shit and smearing it across the page, then showing it to the world. You can write hundreds of pages, and if you're lucky, one or two of them might be worth showing anyone. You probably have a better chance of winning the lottery than being a successful novelist, especially in today's world. Anyone who likes this is doing it wrong.

I don't write because I love it. I write because I have to. For better or for worse, writing is how I exorcise the demons. How I keep the dark clouds at bay. How I avoid descending down the spiral of self-hatred and self-destruction. Hell, it doesn't even work, all of the time. But it works more consistently and more constructively than just about anything else I've ever tried, to include professional therapy. Deep down, I am a perfect cliche: the tortured artist. That really pisses me off, but I accept it.

So here I am, with plenty on my plate and considering even more. I may not do it. Cooler heads may just prevail, here. But I'm probably going to.




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