Each year about this time I wonder if I should do it, just jump in, screw whatever my current project is. No, I decide. The time isn't right.
I have a deep fondness for NaNoWriMo. I heard about it too late to participate in 2001, but I donated money because I loved the idea. The following spring, I decided to make my own private version of NaNoWriMo, extending it to a schedule of ten weeks, which suited my schedule better. I wasn't after the thrill of a novel in 30 days--I was after finishing a piece that lurked in my head. Hell, starting it, never mind finish it. I succeeded and a year later, an excerpt from that novel got me into graduate school.
November 2002 found me revising and dealing with personal crises. A year later, I was swamped in MFA applications and working three jobs to pay my bills since I was on my own after my husband asked for a divorce. At some point during those years, I donated my old laptop to the cause, providing a writer in need with my favorite writing tool.
Novembers of 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 flew by, and each year I hoped I'd be able to participate, but each year graduate school obligations sucked away the time I needed to participate. One of my ex-sisters in law once told her brother (a musician, engineer, songwriter), that our poverty was good for his creativity. She claimed that her friends who were artists felt they produced more when sleep deprived. In other words, she subscribed to the theory that suffering is necessary to create. I don't buy into that bullsh*t at all. I create (and my former husband feels the same way) better when I have money in the bank, my bills are paid, my refrigerator is full, and I am well rested. And warm. And feeling content. Or maybe it's just that I have enough darkness in my head that I don't need anything external to motivate me. In any case, my point is I am unwilling to lose sleep for a month in order to complete Nanowrimo, and year after year, that is the only way I can imagine making it happen within my particular schedule.
I applaud everyone who is participating, though. It's fantastic to imagine so many writers all at it for the next 30 days. I will be cheering for all of you.
And I'll be starting a project of my own. In tomorrow's post, I'll outline the commitment I'm making in celebration of an important event in my life.