In Which I Ponder Not Doing NaNo
2011-10-18, 4:27 p.m.
recently on Chaos Attraction
I am seriously considering not doing NaNoWriMo any more.
I know. It kinda kills me to even say that.
It has flat out stopped being fun in the last 3 years or so. Why?
1. I have come to the conclusion over the years that I was not meant to be a fiction writer. Sad but true. I have yet to write a novel that I felt had enough potential to really try to make it good enough for publication. I lose all interest after I purge my plots onto the page for 20something days. I've tried to force myself to edit and I don't actually really DO it beyond shortening sentences and brief rewrites. If I have to rewrite the entire plot to make it better, hah, I don't. And when I think of the books I've loved, and then I think of the ones I've written... my books just don't HAVE it. They don't have sparkling plots. The characters all sound like me. I don't have a burning desire to tell fictional stories in fictional worlds in the first place. Not that I haven't always kinda known that, mind you, but I liked trying.
But even that wouldn't stop me. I wasn't shooting for publication with anything in the first place. The point of it to me is a personal pissing contest to do something sustained for a month by someone else's set deadline. What really bothers me is:
2. The social aspect of NaNoWriMo is flat out gone for me.
Since I am the idiot who doesn't drive doesn't have a car, I can't go to events that are out of town. The Sacramento folks still turn out to events, as far as I can tell, but the folks I used to know and hang out with during NaNo--the ones I could, you know, trust to get rides with to events-- have long since moved out, moved away, and are gone. And they haven't been replaced. What happens in this town is that a few college students sign up, and they want write-ins, and by virtue of being the longest-lasting person in this town, I end up caving in and scheduling them. And then nobody fucking shows up after awhile, but this has gotten worse. Three years ago people showed up for the first week and otherwise disappeared. (The year Jess came fror part of NaNo helped a lot, but that was pretty much the last time we could get a group up in this town for bloody anything.) Last year PEOPLE DIDN'T EVEN FUCKING SHOW UP FOR THE VERY FIRST WRITE-IN. What the hell?
Now, the annoying thing about write-ins in a small college town anyway is that all the college students would flake out at the first midterm--- I suppose that's to be expected, and I never did NaNo while in college so I don't know how hard it is actually is to juggle the two-- but now there's nobody NOT in college who comes, and what it boils down to is that I'm the only one in town actually doing it. I can't go to the social events, I can't go to write-ins in Sacramento where non-college students will show up, plus my old writing group*. So I feel like I am doing it totally all by myself. And it sucks. And it is not fun. Without the social aspects of NaNo, it feels like a giant fucking slog. And by now, I give up on trying to get the newbies to come. I am tired of discussing the merits of Cafe #1 vs Cafe #2 vs Cafe #3 and fitting it to people's schedules WHEN NO ONE SHOWS UP. I do not like sitting in the cafe alone waiting for people with my little sign, spending money on expensive froofy drinks so I can rent a table and wait for no one. I might as well be at home, for fuck's sake.
Also, NaNo has been around for over a decade now, and it is not the hot topic of conversation on non-NaNo sites any more. So I'm not even getting my social buzz online so much any more.
Meanwhile, I feel like every night, all night, and at lunches, I am sitting down to slog through yet another book all alone, trying to make word count. It feels like it's taking me longer to write somehow without write-ins. I don't know why that is, because 3 hours at a cafe with other people vs. 3 hours at your apartment shouldn't really be drastically different in how much work you get done, and normally it's not. But in earlier years I'd write for a couple of hours and then knock off to do some knitting or socializing or whatever per day, and now I am slogging along through most of every free moment of the month. Blech.
3. I really wish I hadn't done Camp NaNoWriMo this year. Because while yes, I got my novel done, I spent another month doing it alone, feeling sad about doing it alone, and on top of that I am still feeling burnt out come November. I don't have a fresh idea. I think if I do end up doing it, I'll just do a rewrite of this one, since I filled in my 50k with a lot of quotations and I have been told since then that That Is Bad For Nonfiction. Sigh.
Frankly, the ONLY reason I can come up with to do it any more is that I don't want to break my record. I can't see my old people, I can't meet/talk to new people, it's not fun any more to grind through a book in 30 days alone...
Feh. I don't know what I'm going to do. But I haven't hopped on the stick, hopped into the local forums, etc. to join in yet, and that disturbs me. I wish I had someone else to talk with about this, but super old school NaNos are few and far between, and the few I know are still into doing it.
* I really miss my Sacramento writing group at times. I sometimes wonder if I'll rejoin them when I can finally get a Zipcar membership and drive over to meetings all by my fucking self without being out of rides to beg, but I am not sure if it's worth it to try to join again for less than a year (plus the whole "I really just don't have it in me to write fiction" thing). Not to mention that I now have stuff going on the same night that they had meetings on, so I don't know if I am free anyway.