Saturday, September 10, 2011


Somewhere around this time last year, one of my friends suggested I do NaNoWriMo with her in November. After she explained the basics (write a 50k word novel during the month of November), she mentioned she had been trying to get people to do it with her for years. I said it sounded like fun and set my fingers to my keyboard.

50,000 words and a month later, I was shocked to see the number of people who "won" compared to the those who signed up and tried. Out of 200,000 sign ups, around 30,000 got to the word limit. I had never thought that I would do anything less than what I needed to do to win and had therefore assumed everyone else thought the same way I did. Plus my friend had won it every year she did it, so I just thought that was how it worked.

Now, please don't think I'm bragging. I was excited to write, but the novel I wrote was so awful that I haven't even let my mom read it. The plot never came together how I had wanted and my characters felt static, boring and flat.

No, this definitely isn't bragging. This is just a way to highlight one of my greatest flaws - the crippling single mindedness with which I will pursue a task provided there is some sort of arbitrary yet widely recognized reward to doing such task.

For example, WoW's achievement system has convinced me to fish up over 13,000 virtual "fish and other things."

So when I was writing to win NaNo, it was easy. The story unfolded before my eyes and I did my best to quickly write down everything that I saw happening. I eagerly sat down each day and wrote. I even did some minor revisions as I reread what I had gotten done.

Then I hit that 50k word mark and that was it. Even though my "novel" was far from done, even though I had made rudimentary plans to review and revise it into something more readable, there was just no more motivation. The story that had previously played in my mind like a movie hit a break in the reel and it was gone.

I need to find a way to harness this flaw of mine and use that sort of time and effort for good.

Also, I'll be doing NaNo again this year and would love to see others go for it as well!

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