I haven’t been blogging much this month because all my word-stuff has been going into my Camp NaNoWriMo project. I’m editing the novel I started way back in 2017 and this is hopefully the final edit before it gets proof-read and put up here to download. I’m aiming to have it available here sometime this summer, which I’m pretty excited about!
For a bit of background about the book itself and why I started it two years ago but haven’t finished it yet, I posted a big ramble about that last month, which you can see here. And for a bit of background about why I’m making an informed and conscious choice to share my books online in a non-selling kind of way (gifts via Kofi and PayPal are always welcome, but not at all expected), and where my head’s at in general with writing at the moment, I wrote about that back in January and you can read that post here.
If you can’t be bothered to click a link and a read a whole ‘nother blog post, the short version is that right now I do not want to be working in marketing, running a business, being a brand, or shaping my creative output around other people’s requirements, market trends or profit-making potential, and I do want to be present with the beautiful and healing experience of freely and joyously making art, and connecting with other creative people.
I set a goal of fifty hours revising time for April’s Camp NaNoWriMo. I absolutely LOVE Camp NaNo because of that flexibility. You can write or edit any kind of written project of any length, and you can set your goal in hours or pages instead of words if you want to. It’s ideal for those times when you don’t want to write the first draft of a novel in a month (because, let’s face it, that’s a pretty specific mission) but do want to focus on a project with a goal in mind.
I figured fifty hours is a bit of a challenge and enough to get me pretty damn close to finishing this final revision, but it’s not going to take over my life or throw me into an implosive spiral of workaholism, insomnia and manic obsession. As of yesterday (14th April), I’m sitting at thirty-three hours down, seventeen hours to go, and honestly I am enjoying this process SO MUCH. As soon as I took all the pressure off – and by pressure I mean the compulsive need to do things the way they ‘should’ be done, perfectly, yesterday, wrapped in an impenetrable veneer of effortlessness – I fell in love with my book again, fixed a bunch of plot points that were giving me the twitches, and have been thoroughly loving every second spent immersed in creativity.
I joke about being a recovering perfectionist and I know a lot of people who aren’t that way inclined don’t realise that it’s not just needing to do things really well. At its least harmful and its most visible, it is that. The reality is not a cute little personality quirk though. The reality is a soul-deep cyclone of all-consuming terror. It’s two hours sleep a night and the pervasive certainty that if you are anything less than perfect, over-achieving, quietly coping and FINE, you will become too much, your world will collapse around you, it will be entirely your fault and you will be left alone with the heart-wrenching, indelible evidence of your shameful loss of control.
So yeah, getting to a point where I can finish a project that’s spent a long time wrapped in threads of deeply personal head-fuckery and put it online for people to read if they want to, with no pressure, no attachment to external validation and a healthy, balanced approach to doing the thing, is fucking HUGE. At this point, that feels like more of a meaningful result than finishing the book does.
If you’re Camp NaNo-ing, I hope it’s going really well for you. If you’re working to dismantle deeply ingrained systems of self-destructive emotional and behavioural patterns, I hope that’s going really well for you too. Take it easy, but take it ❤