I made an important decision today. One that concerns where I am as an artist and as a writer. I've decided this is the last year I'm going to participate in National Novel Writing Month. For the past three years I've been using NaNoWriMo to try and develop good writing habits and to churn out a fifty thousand word novel in the period of one month. The previous two years I did not reach this goal. Last year I was close with nearly thirty-seven thousand words, but I never went back and finished it. Now I'm on the same path again, trying to get all my words in before the month is up. Trying to juggle work, family and this "creative endeavor" every single day for thirty days straight. It's been a challenge every year, including this one, and you know what? It's absolutely no fun at all. In fact it's stressful and takes all the fun out of writing. You know what else? It's also a horrible way to write. To trudge along on the same book for 30 days straight. To never deviate or work on anything else. Sure, I could diversify if I wanted to, but the name of the month isn't "National Fifty Thousand Words Day" or "National Two Short Stories, Ten Blog Posts, and Half A Novel Month." It's National NOVEL Writing Month. So my brain wants to finish a book in thirty days. Thirty days! That's ludicrous. That's unrealistic. That's no way to write a novel. Yes, I realize there are many different people, and many different methods, and I don't have to take the "novel" part of the goal's name so literally, but then that's not finishing a novel is it? I'd still half accomplish writing a book like I did the previous two years. There may be book writing deadlines in my future (and they'll probably never be the rough draft of an entire novel in a single month), but right now there isn't, and guess what? I don't want there to be.
So this is it. I'm going to get as many words as I can in on my novel this month, and then I'm moving on. Though as I write this I can feel my brain already beginning to let go. I had a great idea for a short story last night, and that might just get my attention instead. The truth is things like NaNoWriMo are for people who are aspiring to be writers, and quite frankly I'm already beginning to feel like one. A writer is someone who writes, and no matter how many times a person participates in NaNoWriMo, that involvement will never make them a writer, only writing will. That all being said, I do think NaNoWriMo is a fantastic contest for lots of different people, but it's just not for me. I'm already what I want to be, an artist and a writer. I always have been.
UPDATE: I've gone ahead and removed my NaNoWriMo account. Now it's time to really write.