Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Forays in Fiction: Camp NaNo Winner!

Totally surprised myself.  I was so far behind once the heatwave broke I was sure it wasn't possible.   I can't remember the exact numbers but it was something like twelve days left with 36K to go.  But it was right around the time I was once again reminded that creativity and messy go hand in hand. So I cut myself loose and cut myself a lot of slack on the definition of what counts as word count.

This is my first Camp NaNo win.  But I've won six of the November NaNos and every one of those wins created a massive mess that I never looked at again after November 31 of the year I submitted to the verifier at NaNo.  I'd been letting that weigh on me, feeling the shame of it and the sense of a hopeless task like pushing a snowball uphill on a glacier or sorting a mountain of cornmeal and sand or swimming in glue or crocheting with unspun cat hair.

But it was my recent experience with my ROW80 goals coupled with reading Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Lehrer that helped me see messy as a good thing.  It isn't even news to me.  After all the books on creativity I've read in the past that made essentially the same point and all of the times I've learned it and relearned it while working with my own files or writing new stories I keep forgetting and falling back into the fear and disgust and shame.

It was because of this that the one ROW80 goal requiring me to read and re-organize my fiction files including those six NaNo novels was getting a string of Ns for NO each and every check-in until a couple weeks or so ago--just before the heatwave broke I think--I added a carrot/stick motivator to the goal.  I required myself to put in the 30 minutes with those files plus 30 minutes on the editing of a short story to earn time with three of my favorite pastimes--video watching, video games and mucking around with my ebook library adding books or fixing metadata.

And Lo once I started mucking around in my fiction files I started experiencing again the way information and ideas collide and create sparks when you put a lot into a small pot and stir.  Before that first thirty minutes was up I found myself adding sentences and whole paragraphs to old narrative and notes encountered for the first time in years.  And because of this I once again lost my fear of the mess or at least managed to set it aside and let the words gush in huge muddy spurts in the Camp NaNo file.  Which isn't to say I wouldn't be mortified if anyone but me were to see them.

So two more months and its time to do it all again for November NaNo.  Which means it is already time to do the prep work.

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