At first, I really didn't plan on participating at all. Seriously, the thought of finding enough extra time and energy to pour into a 50,000-word novella this month sounded like the free-time equivalent of wedging shards of broken glass underneath my fingernails just to see how badly it would hurt. However, I do have a soft spot in my heart for the event and probably always will. I like doing something creative with my friends. I like popping into the forums when I'm bored or feel like talking to other people about writing. The one year I did choose not to participate in any capacity, I felt really bummed and left out.
That said, I've decided to kind of go for a compromise and... well... like my little macro image up there says, set the bar really low for a change. I think a big part of my problem is that I'm a perfectionist. I expect all or nothing from myself at all times... especially when it comes to anything creative. If I can't see myself churning out something that I will see as a personal masterpiece and a potential future triumph, I tend to fail to see the point in sitting down to write at all and simply won't do it.
That pretty much misses the point of NaNoWriMo anyway... and believe me. I am aware that I have personally missed the point every year I've ever done it because of how much I was expecting of myself. I know it's not supposed to be about writing the next Great American Novel, but that's pretty much what I was always trying to do within the confines of my own mind regardless. I guess I felt like it was OK if other participants wanted to just dink around and have a good time, but I was never able to feel like "just have fun with it" was up to my standards for some reason. I was a "real" writer, dammit! I took myself seriously and planned on getting somewhere with my work someday. Fun... bah!!
Well, I'm not doing that this year. In fact, I'm going to make a concentrated effort to see if I can just spend a month doing this thing (and writing in general) for fun and without expecting much of myself.
- I'm not even going to write a novel. Seriously, I've "won" NaNo so many times by now. I no longer need to prove to myself that I can hit that goal or construct long fiction when I want to, so I'm just not going to bother. Instead, I'm going to be writing... just... whatever I want and calling it a collection. Short stories, poems, flash fiction... just whatever sounds fun.
- I'm not going to worry about daily quotas very much. Although ideally, I would like to hit the 1667-word goal each day simply in the name of forming a habit and writing for fun on a regular basis again, I'm not going to marry that idea. On days when I don't feel like it, I'm just not gonna. Who knows. That may turn out to be all month. We'll just have to see!
- I'm not concerned with actually "winning" the event. Don't get me wrong. I'd be thrilled to wind up with 50,000 words worth of flash fiction, poetry, or story snippets by the end of the month, because that's a lot... especially for me right now. However, I'd be happy with even a few thousand at this point. Hell, even a few hundred would be more than I've been bothering to produce lately. I figure no matter how little I do, I'll still come out at the end with more than I'd have otherwise and I'm willing to take that at this point.
I guess we'll see how it goes and I will certainly try to actually communicate as far as how I'm doing, both for people who follow me and for myself. In the meantime, you can visit my NaNoWriMo profile and keep an eye on my progress that way should you actually give a crap. Eventually, I'll probably bother to upload some excerpts or something the way I used to. Like I said, I'm just going to play it by ear and let whatever happens happen for a change.