My plan for November involves little or no blogging, and what little writing makes it here will probably be 'I wrote a lot today and now I can hardly focus my eyes' or something like it. I probably shouldn't share any of the crap that I write for NaNoWriMo with you, Reader(s), and not only because it's going to be rubbish. More importantly: it won't help me get the writing done.
It's not as if I have an aversion to inflicting awful writing on you, obviously.
William Gibson quit blogging so he could write a novel; Steven Berlin Johnson has compared writing while blogging to composing an original piece of music while performing with a choir. I wouldn't know, exactly, but I do know that when I'm blogging a lot (compare the archives from 2004 with those from this year, for instance) I don't do any other writing. Because why bother? Audience, form, style, all ready-made. Murderous.
It occurs to me yes that NaNoWriMo is ridiculous and runs strictly counter to a lot of my cherished notions about creativity and inspiration and such. Atop which yes I find the aesthetics of the whole thing somewhere between amusingly pitiable and flat-out nauseating. And yes I admit there's something a little tacky about dashing off 50,000 words in a month - or trying to - and thinking you've achieved anything of substance, anything that will install your literary star forever in the firmament.
But perhaps it is evidence of my late-blooming maturity that I can now say: I am mostly wrong about these cherished notions, and need to unlearn them fast as I can; 'the aesthetics of the whole thing' are just gloss, just fashion, and fashion is irrelevant, and anyhow who am I to think myself above anyone else daring to spend their time and energy this way; and tackiness shouldn't be my concern; and the thing of substance is neither more nor less than committing to a project bigger than is reasonable and seeing it through in spite of fashion and sleep-loss and the company kept - if this were MIT and I were writing code instead of laboured prose, I wouldn't think twice about praising the NaNoWriMo types and puffing myself up a bit for having tapped into the veins of lunatic energy running deep in the earth. So there!
That I have only a sense of mood and setting and premise, and nothing resembling a 'plot' (though, after John Rogers, I have the notion of a story) is of no concern at this point. My skills are extremely limited but at least there's something you can do about that and I mean to; with any luck talent can get you started and I'm one of those kids who for years 'got by on talent' so God willing there's some still lying around inside, as yet untouched. And if all of this amounts to unreadable solipsism and has the function of getting me psyched up to murder 50,000 words one after the other, I'll count that a minus and a plus, small and big respectively thank you very much, and come Halloween I'll see you at the top of December.
So on New Year's Day I'll take the future-tense manuscript out of the desk drawer, legal pad and red pens to hand, and when the reflexive vomiting is done, Reader(s), we can begin the process of exhuming what's inside that motherfucker and getting the good bits, like Dr Frankenstein but without, y'know, the icky dead people. I mean come on it's a metaphor for God's sake.