coming out as a wrimo

Yup, I'm doing it. I signed on to National Novel Writing Month on Oct 31st, just in time to start when the month officially began on Nov 1st. My best friend is also doing it, and her supportive enthusiasm helped me decide to take the plunge.
So I've been writing for a week on my novel. I'm a bit behind on my word count, which is ALL that matters in nanowrimo -- your goal, along with thousands of other people, is to reach 50,000 words by the end of November. But I'm doing it. And it's been great.

It's immensely freeing to just write, with no concerns for revision, for argument, for audience -- just to be doing something that is enjoyable for me. There are so many forces in our culture that want to curtail our innate human creativity. In the 19th century, for instance, everyone in the middle class and above, and a large number of people in the working classes, sang and/or played an instrument. That was just something you did for entertainment when you were by yourself, and especially when you were with other people. Today, some schools still retain music education (although it's frequently dropped when budgets get tight), but many people give it up by the time they reach adulthood. We are a nation of avid consumers of music, but we're told again and again that it's not something you could actually play/do yourself, unless you're really good, unless you want to make a career of it. So many of us (myself included) insist "oh, I can't sing." Well I don't believe that everyone in the 19thc necessarily could sing perfectly on-pitch -- but they believed it was something they could do if they liked to.

I have no dreams of becoming a Great Novelist. But if I want to spend some time writing because it is fun, because it wakes up my inner creative self who sometimes goes into sloth mode -- then why not.

It's also been really interesting to compare the feeling of this writing process with my academic writing. It's completely different. There's no pausing to reflect, to edit -- the idea is just to crank out as many words as you can in a month. And then, if you want, you can go back and edit, or extend it, or whatever. So I actually think it might have some freeing effects on my other writing too.

Why didn't I blog about it right away? I think I wanted to make sure I was going to move forward with it. But there was still that nagging voice that I'm trying to ignore, the one that says "your very few blog readers are mostly academics, and they will think you are wasting your time" or "your writing support group reads your blog and THEY will think you are wasting time" or "you're not really a writer, so why are you doing this."

That's the voice that is fast disappearing, every time I sit down and dream up another 1000 words. So yeah, it's worth it. Will I make 50,000? I hope so. Even if I don't, I feel like it's been a great experience already.