Answering the often asked: do you do Nanowrimo?

I’m often asked a question which goes along with another topic I wanted to cover here.

Do you do NaNoWriMo?

No. I haven’t. I most likely won’t ever join in. I won’t say ever, but I’m fairly certain it will be a never.

This isn’t to put it down. A lot of people can get that book written which has been in them forever and parrticipating in something like NaNoWriMo will inspire them. It will get that book written. That’s great. For them. If it gets you to finish that book, write that book, or stop letting the inner critiquer in your head so you work fast and write a novel, awesome. If you just get off on the accomplishments, being a part of that group, and love the accolades you get it from it, awesome.

For me however?

Can’t do it.

This is the reason why, and a topic to cover. Pressure. Pressure and a form of “you must do this because I said so.”

I’ve been raised in a way that I was always doing what was expected of me. So when pressure is applied now, a few different reactions happen. Either I shut down and go cold toward what’s pressuring me. BEcause hey, if the choice is compromise and doing what I have to just because they want me to, and it’s not for me? Done. Fine. Haven’t lost anything. Ultimatums don’t work with me.

Another consequences is stress. Stress for me equals anxiety attacks. Then panic. And yes, I’ve felt it with my work. I allowed the “I have to get this done NOW” to sink in and I went yay down that anxiety road. I don’t usually confess it to the public, I do confess it to my editor.

That is what NaNoWriMo would do to me. I’d take it way to seriously and suddenly the pressure would be on in a way that would then cause a major explosion, brain wires frying, and shut down soon after. I’m good at shutting down and shutting things out. The last thing I want to do is have that happen with my writing. Knowing myself and the amount of pressure I already apply to myself? Participating in a situation such as that? Bad things would happen. I won’t go there. Some would be like, “never know if you don’t try.” Well yes, I’m a little more self-aware than most. I know what would happen. I’d never do that to my muse/creative self.

That is where the topic comes in for this final post before we start to make a story. Pressure.

There may be people out there who can work with their creative brains while demanding it to work. I don’t think the majority of us could. I mean that purely in the sense of coming up with ideas and pursuing them. Pressure can truly backfire. Demand your muse to come up with an idea and your muse will laugh at you. Demand your creative self to come up with something to write and it’s going to laugh and you and tell you have fun with your bad self. You’ll inevitably go down. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but eventually. Personally, I want to be able to work as Stephen King. Where even now after all this success, after all the books he’s written, he is still writing. And not using ideas from other people. He’s doing it himself.

I’ve heard of far too many authors who use ghost writers, who bounce ideas off one another to get ideas to write. A group of people come up with one story. There isn’t anything wrong with that if it works for them. For me though, I’d like to be able to come up with my own ideas (like I have) and still do that later on. I want to be able to write my own books later on (short of physical issues that prevent me from doing it myself). I don’t want to apply pressure to my creative muse in any way to the point that eventually it says to me I’m no longer helping you. 

At that point people will turn to drugs, alcohol, or other methods to get the ideas. Or they would’ve relied on those to the point that when they try to stop they find there is nothing left there in them unless they rely on those methods.

Pressure is much like a pressure cooker for me. I don’t think we can work in a healthy way with that amount of buildup inside of us. We are eventually going to break. And when I’m already doing just fine on my own, why would I willingly throw myself in a pot of boiling water?

I’m inundated with ideas. I have a healthy file of ideas in my reach. I have plenty of stories to write and edit. Every three months right now I either finish writing a book, or finish editing on, publish one, etc. To me, that is a pretty damn good time. I’m young and I’m doing damn fine. I won’t hasten that along thinking I have to do it even faster. If I naturally could increase that time, great, but willingly forcing myself to work far beyond what I do every day, just to meet a word count in a month? I’m not an adrenaline junkie. Having suffered three panic attacks within an hours time one day? Having been in multiple car accidents? That’s as much adrenaline as I can handle pouring through me. As in, way too much. I don’t need to seek it out in other ways. I’ll keep my simmering pot going rather than take the boiling pot.

 


NEXT WEEK’S TOPIC:
WE’LL START WRITING A BOOK
WE NEED AN IDEA

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4 thoughts on “Answering the often asked: do you do Nanowrimo?

  1. Mr. Darcy (@joeEelliott)

    I have had a lot of success following a Stephen King tip: I come up with a character or two, put them in some situation and just start writing. I rarely get beyond a few chapters before I have a pretty good idea of where the story will go in the middle and ending sections.

    A recent example and please no offense intended…I took a Pastor from an Evangelical Christian church (I had recently had lunch with a few) who was going to baptize several people at a lake (Lake Stevens). And he drowned the first person and swam off. WTF? Why? How do the people on shore react? Another newer member was not surprised and saw it coming. Why? What happened?

    It is actually working out quite nicely into a story about a group of people who spent time in a certain mental health facility who all start cracking at once.

    And all this started with one Pastor 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeanie (The Editor)

    I have done the character situation questioning thing before. Another thing I used to do was free association. That has popped out some very strange short stories indeed. Like the time I wrote about a group of cows who got high when the farmer went to town and they had a party in the barn. One ended up with a tattoo of a marijuana leaf on her hip. Farmer Brown was perplexed, to say the least. That came from just writing down words and phrases that made no sense until I took off on a tangent and a full story was born. No, I was not high at the time!

    Liked by 1 person

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