I’m happy for and jealous of friends and colleagues who plunge annually into National Novel Writing Month. They post their daily word counts and I pout a little to myself. I tried, two years ago, and felt swamped by the semester toward the end of the month, and gave up.
Now I have friends who are posting about DigiWriMo, and I was tempted, since I’m blogging, to sign up for this, but I resisted.
I’ve had to be brave and sing to myself, “no can do.”
See, my problem has never been finding time to write. My problem has never been lack of output. I’m prolific as all get out.
Profligate, in fact. All those hours, all those drafts, all those poems, warehouses full really. Going to waste in isolation.
What I need is NaFiOnGoProBeYoMoOnMo: National Finish One Goddam Project Before You Move On Month.
So that’s my November–continue working on “Guided Trespass,” a draft of a scholarly chapter for a book on creativity.
But I don’t want to feel utterly deprived, and I won’t. I’m still blogging, and writing poems in the car on the way to work, and here’s my big treat: for every hour I spend researching and writing on “Guided Trespass,” I get to spend an hour working on expanding one of my approximately six billion ten-minute plays into a full-length play.
Because what I need is long-term success, not a good month. Kerry Rockquemore has not only a terrifically cool name, she has terrific advice. In her 2010 piece, “30 Days Until Finals,” she has the following as items on a list–
“Prioritizing your research and writing,” “Developing a consistent daily writing habit,” “Creating support and accountability for your writing.”
It’s that third one that I most need to work on. Later in the list, we also get “understand what is holding you back,” which will maybe make December into UndWhaIsHoYoBacMo.
She finishes with “Releasing yourselves from the need to be Super Professor” and “Developing a spirit of compassion towards yourself as a writer.”
I don’t want to spend a month on either of those goals. I want to spend the rest of my career on the first, and the rest of my life on the latter.