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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

World Enough, and Time

Yes, it's that time of year again...that time when we all reach up over our heads, yank the zipper cartoon-character style, and tear away the masks we use to hide who we really are from the rest of the world.  Time to quit pretending we are anything other than who and what we are, and display it proudly.

No, I'm not talking about Halloween, or your local midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  I'm talking about Nano.

Yes, it is I, your favorite serial perennial glutton-for-punishment masochist Nano participant, dropping in to touch bases and see who else is up for the fun-filled form of self-flagellation writing challenge to end all writing challenges.

Nano is short for NanoWriMo, and NanoWriMo...um...I'm feeling some serious deja vu here.  Hold on.  Grab your coffee, take a deep breath, and spend a few moments to review the original Glutton for Punishment Nano intro, here.

Oh, wow, you actually came back?  

I have tried my hand at Nano every year since 2005, and every year, I have come up short.  Most of those years, my total word count is somewhere under ten thousand; my worst year I think I barely made it to 2500 total.  My best year?  Two years ago.    That year, I came  a mere five thousand words from reaching the goal, but more importantly, I actually reached the end of my story.

Most years, I have no idea what the story is about until it starts flowing out of my fingertips and into the keys.  Okay, okay, maybe "flowing" isn't the right word; it's more like a slow drip, smearing the keyboard with a light coating of prose, as opposed to hosing out with enough force to blast the keyboard off the desk.  I generally start with a line or two of general info and a semi-solid mental image of my lead character.

This year, my subconscious mind is clearly getting geared up for Nano.  I have had six or seven dreams over the last three weeks that interrelate.  I've got a strangely clear picture of what I'm going to write.  Well...strangely clear for me, anyway.  I know my story involves Lovecraftian beasties, a lost book of black magic, a man with multiple personalities, his therapist, and Shroedinger's Cat.  Oh, and the destruction of the world.  Of course.

Every year, during Nano, I snag a few favorite scenes from my past Nano attempts and plop them onto my blog.  
While other people might consider this a form of showing off--as in, "here, everyone check out  some writing I'm really proud of!"--that's not it at all.  It's meant more as a slap in my own face.  "Look, you cranked out something THIS cool two years ago.  Stop whining at yourself about lack of time, lack of sleep, dead cars, horrible jobs, idiot employers, and that six hour drive home in a blizzard, and get back to writing!"

Surely I'm not the only glutton for punishment in the room.  No doubt there are others out there, others like me, who also feel ready for the coming writing challenge...?  

Actually, I'm not sure there is such a thing as "ready for Nano."  Getting ready is more like spasmodically strapping on a crash helmet while desperatly hunting for seat belts that don't exist while forward momentum rapidly approaches 88 miles an hour with the flux capacitor glowing menacingly behind you...

Who else is--like me--deluding themselves into believing they are actually "ready" for Nano...?  What are you planning on writing this year, and what are your strategies for heroically facing Otogu and keeping the demon at bay for as many minutes as necessary to reach that fifty-thousand word finish line...?

Please feel free to connect with me on www.nanowrimo.org; my username there is AlDavis.


Allan Davis is a writer, photographer, and programmer hailing from the rocky windswept crags of lower Nebraskaland.  In his copious spare time, he manages to read half a page of a novel or squeeze out seventeen or eighteen words on his latest work-in-progress...wait...what did "copious" mean again...?
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