Monday, November 24, 2008
You know, the interesting thing about doing Nano for the third time is how little I care about it this year. I'm doing way better than I have any other year-- I'm at about 32,000 words with a week to go, and I still have plenty more to write about-- but I just don't care. I think part of it is my choice of plot. It's sort of like that movie "Love, Actually" where there are a half dozen plotlines that revolve around people's love lives, which are loosely interwoven (very loosely, in this case).
It's sort of like writing a soap opera. It's a great choice for Nano because I always have something to write about, and the words seem to flow (at least sometimes!). As opposed to the past two years, when I was trying to write something that felt "significant" and nothing was happening. But on the other hand, since it just feels like fluff, it's hard to care. What difference does it make if I write it or not? And of course, it doesn't make a difference to anyone but me. It never has. I know from experience that I will never let anyone read it. Not even my spouse has read my Nano novels. It makes no difference to anyone but me. This year I'm determined to get to 50,000 just so I've done it. And then I don't think I'll ever do it again.
I haven't written much about what I've been up to this fall. Since I still couldn't find a job, I decided to go back to school. I wanted a challenge, so I signed on for the first semester of Chinese and a programming class. I've been having a ball being a student again, although it hasn't kept me from whining about having to study. I was a really good student back in my "real" student days; you might say it's the only thing I've ever been really good at (which is a bit depressing, don't you think?) And I still am a pretty damn good student. What I've lost in terms of mental quickness I've more than made up for in experience, in understanding what the teacher is talking about and having experiences that give me a context for what's going on. (I'm the only person in either class that's over 20. Besides the teachers, of course, both of whom I'm older than. Was that correct grammar?)
That long aside just so I can say: it is really really obvious how much more I enjoy programming than I do writing. I love getting a new programming project and having to figure out how to solve it, writing the code, debugging it, and getting it to work. Makes me wish I lived somewhere where I could do it for pay (do I sound bitter?)(no, not me). And in direct contrast this month has been trying to write this damn novel, which has barely held my attention at all in comparison. I always thought I wanted to be a writer, but you know I have to say based on this experience that maybe I was wrong. Maybe what I've wanted all these years is to give readers the same happiness that I've received from reading-- the wish that I could do for others what my favorite authors have done for me. I'm discovering that I just don't like to write, at least not fiction. It's a good thing to know. Nano has been an interesting experience, one I'm grateful for, all three years of it. But I don't think I'll be doing it again.