NaNoFeed: Embracing Imperfection

Hello, my name is E. P. Beaumont and I am a recovering perfectionist.

Now that we have that out of the way…

The less than flattering facts (warning: they’re full o’ math):

  • I promised myself that I would make it to 45,000 words this weekend. Instead, I made it only to 42,400.
  • Given I was starting from 31,600 words, that meant scoring something on the order of 14,400 words in the course of the weekend. In point of fact, I wrote something like 10,800 words. So I fell something like 2,600 words short of my goal for the 28-Hour Writing Tour. (Oh yes, and I didn’t write for 28 hours, but that hadn’t been the original intent.)

The reality:

  • My estimable Life Partner, He Without Whom, reminds me that some other writers would trade some vital body part for that kind of output. That’s 5K a day.
  • I got work done, and I have a list of things to write next that will last me for the next week.
  • I know that if I push through tonight, I’m just going to burn out. Not only will burnout set me back on word-count in the long run, it will take the fun out of the project. If writing isn’t fun, it isn’t worth it. (Not that there aren’t days of slogging, but it shouldn’t be a method of self-torture. We have the day job for that.)
  • National Novel Writing Month is a marathon; the Writing Tour is a sprint. I’m not going to go all sports-as-a-metaphor-for-life, but there’s something to be said for totally arbitrary goals: they teach you the difference between the numbers and the feeling. It’s important to keep an eye on the numbers to keep yourself honest, but the feeling is important too: what is enough, and what’s too much?
  • So it feels weird, but oddly right, to leave things just where they are: not perfect. The whole thing is not perfect, because it’s rough draft, raw material for the Serious Fun of Revision that we’re going to do early next year.
  • There’s an intriguing tension to leaving something not done yet, especially when you have it very clear in mind. I’m going to keep an eye on the feeling of this week’s NaNo writing.

The revised facts:

  • Original goal (cumulative word count): 45,000 words
  • Actual output (cumulative word count): 42,400 words
  • Words written over the weekend: 10,800 (average 5,400 words/day; actual was 7500 words on day 1 and 3300 words on day 2).
  • Feeling: satisfied, hungry for the next time, ready to do a little creative procrastination.
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One Response to NaNoFeed: Embracing Imperfection

  1. Sue says:

    I too am a recovering perfectionist and I would give body parts to be able to write so many words. Thank you for my after lunch smile 😀

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