How many times have I heard that phrase in my life? “You have a one track mind.”
Well, I do. I think might self-diagnose as borderline OCD. I have a tendency, once I start something, whether it be writing, drawing, playing music, whatever it is, to do it at the exclusion of everything else. And I mean everything.
Of course, much like Ben Franklin before me, I am a big believer in self-improvement. He famously had a list of things he wished to improve about himself. I can’t recall the chart he used, but I do remember the story he told about it. He was bragging about how he hoped to, one day, be the perfect human, and was proudly marking all his character flaws and personal shortcomings off his list as he finally defeated them. when a contemporary of his pointed out that he really needed to work on his humility, well, that was just one more challenge to conquer.
I’m not entirely sure if that applies to what I was going to make here, but that is a story that bears repeating, even if it doesn’t fit in with my larger point. Which is: I’m really obsessive.
Part of the inspiration for me coming out with that is because it’s NaNoWriMo time again. Twitter is full of it, I’ve seen several blogs mentioning its approach, and it’s been on my mind. Turns out, I need Nano to keep me sane.
You see, when I wrote my first novel, I wrote the first draft in a little more than a week. I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote, I didn’t eat, sleep, or even go to work. That didn’t really bother me, as I’ve always been that way. When I used to dream of being an artist, I would draw for entire weekends, huddled in my bedroom closet, producing page after page of adolescent scribbles, mostly barbarians cutting the heads off of dinosaurs. The perfectionist in me would invariably throw every single drawing in the trash upon completion. I have very little artwork from my childhood remaining.
The point is that I find it unimaginably annoying when I’m working on something, and I mean something that is important to me, and I have to stop. That’s why I don’t like writing over a long period of time. I have become better at it, writing the novella I finished recently over a period of about a month. But I want to come home on a Friday evening, lock myself away, and write until Monday morning when I have to go to work, assuming of course that I'm finished by then.
Being a grownup has meant that sort of behavior is frowned upon. My wife sure doesn’t appreciate it. My kid probably doesn’t dig it too much either. So I find I put off doing a lot of stuff I want to do, because until I can really commit to it, I don’t want to start.
NaNoWriMo is like Ben Franklin’s self-improvement list for me. It tells me I can write until I get 1667 words done, then I can stop. I may do more, should the mood strike, but I don’t have to write until I collapse. It’s a means of self-improvement. It’s funny, and like Andrew said in his last post, it’s really a game you play with yourself to get things done, and in my case, an excuse to stop. I can get lost in my head sometimes, this year, I have plans to dabble in the realm of fantasy for my nano novel. I’ve never written a fantasy book before, but after I reviewed what I’d read so far this year, I realized I must have read more than a dozen fantasy novels. It wasn’t that long ago that I ranted on this blog about how much I hated the genre, looks like I’ve kinda come around.
What do you want to bet that means the whole genre is about to crash?
So, everyone get geared up, I may be doing a few nano related posts – maybe not, but I’m just laying down the groundwork so there is no surprises later.