Well hello there, tumblr
I’ve been MIA for a while. Sometimes you have to drop a few things to keep from dropping other things. Things no less interesting or valuable, but perhaps less momentarily necessary? So here I am.
The problem is that I’m writing a novel. It’s the first draft of what will (hopefully) be my first novel. The other problem is that I can become obsessive about totally unnecessary things way too easily (see Twitter, Facebook, and, ahem, tumblr). We all know the internet is miraculous and fascinating and infuriating and also a terrible timesuck. So, yeah. Sometimes it’s hard to determine what matters and what’s helpful and what’s just sucking the energy out of the room.
I have this idea for an experiment. I’ve always admired the people who go all out for NaNoWriMo (I totally had to look that up. I was like…NoNiNaPo? Wait, no…) and even though I’m writing a novel and have wanted to write a novel for a good long while, I’ve never been one of them. I know I’m not that kind of writer. I know my process. I’m slow. I’m actually slow at a lot of things. I read slow. I eat slow. I walk through museums slow. I like to savor things—words, flavors, feelings. I like to think a lot before I make a decision or speak in a group conversation. Believe me when I say that this can be frustrating. I wish I was a faster writer. I wish I could bang out a whole novel in a month. And I know that the point of things like NaNoWriMo is just to get it down, no matter if it’s good or bad, to get the train moving and show yourself that you can do it. I get that, and I think it’s great. It’s just not how I work. I’m the tortoise, and I’m okay with that.
So my experiment will be one of moderation. Maybe extreme moderation. I’m challenging myself to write 30 pages in 30 days. I know what you’re thinking. What kind of challenge is that? It’s so not that hard to write 30 pages in 30 days. That’s what I’m hoping. Because a page a day is totally doable, I’m banking on the fact that I’ll actually like these 30 pages by the end of these 30 days. I’m hoping that by giving myself permission to be slow, I’ll actually work faster and produce higher quality work than if I were pressuring myself to work fast. As Jon Winokur quoted Richard Rhodes in his @AdviceToWriters Twitter feed: “A page a day is a book a year.” Maybe that’s pretty slow considering we’re just talking about a first draft, but that’s still faster than the rate I’ve been going for the past year.
I also want to keep myself accountable. That’s why I’m writing about the experiment here. That’s why I’m going to be taking a photo each day when I sit down to write a page. A photo per day, a photo per page. I’ll be posting the photos to my Instagram account and periodically here. I was inspired to do this by Cathy Day’s tumblr "Every Day I Write the Book." Here’s Cathy explaining the reasoning behind her tumblr at her excellent and inspiring site "The Big Thing."
So, that’s it. 30 pages. 30 days. Photos daily. Moving the train along, just at a tortoise pace. Slow and steady. I’ve already written nearly a page of my novel today. Here’s the first photo. I really need to wash my hair.