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Not doing Nanowrimo this year... - Elf M. Sternberg
Not doing Nanowrimo this year...
I'm not doing Nanowrimo this year because the first five days were eaten alive by my election volunteering and webmastering for some local races, and I'm a little burned out. For the first time in a few weeks, I did manage 2,300 words this past Friday, and another 1500 so far. I even wrote 400 last night while Kouryou-chan was getting ready for bed.

I like Nanowrimo even on the years when I don't do it. I was reading an LJ that I'll keep anonymous where the author was whining and complaining that she doesn't like Nano because, as she put it, "Creativity doesn't come on command."

I'll say this again: Yes. It. Does.

Creativity is a skill. As they're fond of reminding people over at Julliard, the deciding factor between a terrible performer and a great performer isn't innate talent, it isn't creativity, it isn't luck: it's practice. The strongest correlation between musical skill and professional success had nothing to do with innate ability and everything to do with the sheer raw number of hours one put in practicing.

Sorry, this is my biggest pet peeve with writer wannabe's and people who dis nano. You cannot be creative if you don't show up at the typewriter (even the kinds with the television on top) and start banging away at the story.

And "creativity exercises" work. Stuck? Get a big sheet of paper, write down your current stuckness, and then come up with ten ways the characters can unstick the problem. Ten short paragraphs. Pick one. Write it. You might end up throwing it away, but it's better than doing nothing.

I bet I throw away more "driving to the story" chapters (writing a bunch of stuff about the characters before the story actually begins, backstory that eventually gets chopped) in a year than most anti-nano grousers write at all in that same time. Driving to the story has to be one of my worst habits, although it does give me character grounding for later.

Current Mood: rushed rushed
Current Music: John Zorn, Snagglepuss

7 comments or Leave a comment
skitten From: skitten Date: November 11th, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
never have tried Nanowri Mo (after my abysmal failure te first time I recognized it did not work for me at all- I'm trying to get motivated to write daily in fact... long pieces of writing completely escape me...
blackcoat From: blackcoat Date: November 11th, 2008 06:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
My single problem with nano is the colossal sense of failure and stigma that I get if life gets in the way part way through. I'm sorry, but if, unexpectedly, I lose a weekend to a family emergency, and then a week to an 80 hour workweek, I don't need to feel like a failure on top of it.
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From: anthologie Date: November 11th, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Among writers and painters, there are exercises you can do to get your brain into that place where you're feeling inspired by the things around you. There was a good piece on that in this month's Poets & Writers magazine. It just takes setting aside a little time before the main writing session to play with words, challenge yourself to write a particular scene, or other exercises. It's a bit like stretching first before you go on a five-mile run.
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bldrnrpdx From: bldrnrpdx Date: November 12th, 2008 02:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Half a world away, there's another man in love, and he's going to do something really stupid.

I'm already interested in reading it.
solarbird From: solarbird Date: November 11th, 2008 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
At PAX last year, during one of the Q&A/Gabe and Tycho panels, someone had asked about the history of and how they managed to do Penny Arcade, and as they were talking about all the things they screwed up (examples including, "we accidentally sold the business twice") they mentioned that the only thing they really did right was keeping on doing it, or, inverted, not stopping.

And nanowrimo provides a structure for not stopping for at least a month, and gives you a pair of marker posts to reach that you can uses as incentives to keep going when you really, really feel like stopping.

I'm not doing my parallel world nanowrimo (NaNoteWriMo) this year because I don't really need that anymore, and because I have other music skills that require significant honing. But I have written one song this month, and fixed another, and I might well try it next year, because last year I think it did me some good.
elgatocurioso From: elgatocurioso Date: November 11th, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
I agree, creativity is absolutely a skill.

It can be a challenging skill to master, but entire corporations base their growth strategies completely around it (and yes, it is absolutely the same kind of creativity, even if the delivery mechanism is different).
mg4h From: mg4h Date: November 12th, 2008 12:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Amen. It's just the same as doing a physical sport - muscles atrophy, the brain doesn't remember how to do some things, so when you suddenly try to start up, it sucks. A lot.

If you force yourself to do a whole novel in only one month, and nothing for the other 11 months, how can you expect to really do insanely well? You won't have the discipline, the mental flexibility, or the tools to write to the best of your ability. You should do NaNoWriMo, NaDeWriMo, NaJaWriMo, and the rest of the year too.

7 comments or Leave a comment