I was all set to compete against myself in NaNoWrimo this year. But I eventually decided against it for two reasons. One is that I have been called Jury Duty (one of the booby prizes of obtaining an American citizenship, another is to have to pledge allegiance when I help at my kid's school, a completely archaic, artificial and --since you asked-- reactionary way to instill patriotism on young minds. ) The other reason not to participate in Nanowrimo was that my husband, when I asked him if he thought this was a good idea, said "i'm against it, you're under enough pressure as it" which I heard as "do you really think this family should be left without clean undies and with only frozen pizzas to eat for the next 30 days?"
But i digress.
nanowrimo is National Novel Writing Month and a most excellent way to self-kick your butt when you need to write a first draft in a hurry. The idea is simple: 30 days, 50,000 words. If you reach 50,000 words at the end of 30 days you win! What you win is really nothing other than self-respect and what my beloved Ann lamott calls a shitty first draft , the necessary and embarrassing first step I have learned to like. I find that putting a little fire under my fingers by adding a deadline--especially an impossible deadline that can only produce a terrible product-- is the best way to beat delaying tactics.
The book I'm working on (okay, so i had started it already, which made me ineligible for nanowrimo anyway) has required way too much research because it's a period piece and I don't mean the kind that requires tampons. I never feel fully prepared, I keep having to stop writing to look up dates (thank you wikipedia) and clothing details (thank you google) and eye witness accounts (thank you public library). All this research freezes the writing flow, and you know how you can get lost on the internet, because one minute you're googling for first hand accounts of the Armenian genocide and the next one you're watching this:
I apologize if this distracted you from your otherwise productive day.
So I won't do NaNoWirMo, but I attempting NaNo&DeWriMo. That means I'm giving myself November and December to complete my shitty first draft. I need to average 1500 words a day. I wrote over 1800 words of pure shit today and I'm happy.