Here is a confession for you: I have never been a fast writer.
There are a lot of reasons I could give for this, and a lot of them are just excuses, things that I can and will correct.
But for the most part, my problem lies in the fact that I like blurring the line between poetry and prose. I find legitimate joy, and not just an unfortunate compulsion, in picking and picking and picking at my work, in pulling out all but the most precise of words.
This is just part of what makes my voice, part of my identity as a writer. I’m not looking to change it completely (and really don’t know that I even could).
But I need to learn how to make it more efficient, how to make it actually work for me. I need to teach myself that, if I love the nitpicking process so damn much, I should start doing it in marathons. That editing sprees really have to be a lot more fun than stopping dead in the middle of every damn paragraph and going OH SHITE WHERE IS THAT PERFECT WORD while seizing up in creative agony.
And I need to remember that, for all that I dearly love words, I love stories just as much, and I have to successfully balance the two to be the kind of storyteller that I want to be.
And then David Gaughran posted this.
And something inside of me said yes.
What it amounts to is this: Another author, Michael Wallace, has proposed a challenge for this upcoming month.
60,000 words, this February. 60,000 words, in 29 days.
It’s two days away; I’ve only now decided to do it; I’m not even sure what in hell I will be writing.
I have, shamefully, never even managed to complete NaNoWriMo, let alone something like this.
And yet I cannot convince myself that this is in any way a bad idea. There’s no sense in being afraid of it.
That’s the thing about writing: If you’re afraid of it, what’s really the worst that could happen?
Not having viable writing, due to either a lack of practise or editing, or due to a lack of writing itself.
And what’s going to happen if you don’t write, because of that same fear?
You won’t have any viable writing. A certainty, instead of a mere possibility.
So there it is.
I am going to write.
Maybe I’ll make it all the way to 60k. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll have an amazing story by the 29th, one that begs to be edited come March and then published. Maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll have the time of my life with it; maybe I will want to pull every single strand of my past-hip-length hair out and use it to cheerfully flog the screen.
We will see.
Because I will at least have something.
And for the time being, that will be enough. It won’t matter, what sorts of broken bleary bits of things my overtly-compulsive brain and February itself throw at me to try and get in the way.
I will write something.
Ray Bradbury nailed it, I think, and it’s this quote that I’ll be latching on next month:
‘You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.’