Turtle or Hare?

The furious typing you hear echoing around the country is the annual sadomasochistic event known as NaNoWriMo.  National Novel Writing Month is that time where authors work maniacally to complete a full novel in one month. It’s not about quality. It’s about quantity.

I’m participating this year in a fashion. I don’t expect to finish my book. I couldn’t do that the rest of the year so I don’t know why November would be special. But there is a certain beauty to being given permission to just write. Write badly. Write quickly. Write whatever comes into your head. Just. Write.

December is also known as EdURNoNow. Edit Your Novel Now.

The pressure of the event reaches a unique frenzy I’ve only seen when Nora Roberts is giving away autographed books at National. People get a little nuts over this, IMO, which is why I typically stay away from the insanity. I much prefer slow and steady to furious frenzy. I’m the turtle. The turtle wins the race, if you remember the story.

I try and appreciate the community that rises out of this event. We writers are a tightknit group under most circumstances. NaNoWriMo cinches the group noose a little more securely. There are trackers and websites and self-reports expected. As a self-confessed spreadsheet junkie, I can appreciate all of that. And to be honest, there is a TON of support available as we slink away with our laptops during lunch breaks and after hours when the kids are finally asleep and stare at the screen, counting each word until the two we want to appear are ready to be typed. THE END.

In support of slow and steady however, my local writing group has a couple of events in which they push (gently) the slow and steady approach. I’m actually seeing my daily word count amount to something. The first is called 50/50. A minimum of 50 words a day for 50 days. Some days it’s debatable that I’ll squeak out 50 words. Other days that 50 grows to 500. The second is called a blast. There’s a chat room that we all start in then the moderator screams GO and we all run off to write, returning at a pre-determined time point to check in and report our progress.  Similar accountability as with NaNoWriMo but with less daunting a goal.

It’s all about what works for you. When I’m at work, the pressure of a looming deadline focuses me. I am the rabbit. I can crank out scientific shit that would surely befuddle Dr. Sheldon Cooper. But when it’s my creative side, a looming deadline just looms. I need my turtle.

Turtle or the hare? Which spirit animal guides your writing?

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