Tomorrow begins the month of November, and with it National Novel Writing Month. For the past three years I have participated, and for the last two I was the municipal liaison (a fancy term for “event planning and forum overseeing monkey”) for Korea. This year is going to be a little different. I have passed on the municipal liaison mantle to another seasoned NaNoWriMo veteran, Chris. More importantly, I have decided not to participate in NaNoWriMo at all.
I realize that I don’t really need to explain myself to anyone, but after years of cheerleading and encouraging other people to make their word counts, I feel compelled to address the issue. On the one hand the answer is simple: I just don’t have the time. On the other hand, though, it’s not so simple: who ever has the time to sit down and write 50,000 words a month (well, not counting insane people)?
That’s the beauty of NaNoWriMo, or any major project—you’ll never have the time until you make the time. When I first participated in NaNoWriMo three years ago, I didn’t think I’d have the time. But I buckled down and decided that I was going to make the time, and I did. I did the same thing in 2005 and 2006. So what makes 2007 different? Well, I was originally expecting to be in the midst of finishing up my dissertation during the month of November. It was a relatively easy decision for me. But then the dissertation fell through and everything changed, although it didn’t mean that I suddenly had oodles of time lying at my feet. Things that were to be postponed until after the dissertation now need immediate attention, for one. I have had to reorganize my life and my priorities.
Could I make time for NaNoWriMo? The answer to that is easy: yes. After doing it for three years, I know that I could definitely make the time for it. But there is a great, gaping chasm between “could” and “should.” For example, could I climb up to the top of the very tall pine across the creek from my study and then jump off? Sure. Could I run around the streets of Seoul completely naked, screaming “The eagles are coming! The eagles are coming!” at the top of my lungs? Indeed I could. But these are both things that I probably shouldn’t do, not unless I want to end up a) dead or b) in jail.
Maybe those are extreme examples, but NaNoWriMo this year is one of things that I could do but probably shouldn’t do. Not only would I have to devote two to three hours a day to writing, but there are also all the other things that come with that, like hanging out at the forums. I’m a big forum person, and I am drawn to them like a moth to a flame. I know that if I did NaNoWriMo this year I would spend some time there each day. All of these things add up, and pretty soon I’m looking at a significant portion of my day devoted to NaNoWriMo. After weighing the pros and cons, I have decided that it is not worth it. Not this year. There are too many other things I need to work on.
Since I can’t work every waking hour, I would like to spend some time on Liminality content, in particular my backlog of photos (which goes back well over a year now). But if I have time to work on Liminality, don’t I have time to work on NaNoWriMo? Well, for one, I don’t spend nearly as much time on Liminality as I would on NaNoWriMo. There’s also the fact that I work on this website to relieve stress and get my mind off work. NaNoWriMo, though, is work—make no mistake about it. It would just be piling more stress on my already stressed out mind and body.
So that’s that. This is the best explanation I can offer. It probably won’t satisfy any of the interested parties, but so be it. Best of luck to all who are participating, and I hope to rejoin the ranks of the insane next year. In the meantime, be happy that there will be more content here at Liminality proper during November than there has been for years.