From long experience, I know that I get things done, however ambitious my lists of things to do. However, hardly ever do I get them done on the original timeline.
As I’m looking at the missing pieces of this year’s NaNoWriMo project, The Necromancer and the Barbarian: A Love Story, I’m realizing that finishing draft one by December 15 is completely unrealistic. New Year’s Eve would be workable… and that was the one that I originally set as my goal. “Before January 1” I would send out the manuscript to its beta readers.
What happened? Well, in the heroic adrenalin- and caffeine-driven frenzy of NaNo production, the endorphins started talking: “Heck yeah, bring it on! Sure thing, we’ll build a hydroelectric dam with teaspoons! Give us spit and bubblegum and we will move the world!”
(No, Archimedes didn’t say it that way, exactly. But it’s in the spirit.)
Those pesky endorphins… are the workaholic’s drug of choice. And I did declare, before the cosmos and the internets and everybody, that I am a recovering workaholic, so NaNoWriMo is a dangerous passage for me. There’s a very fine line between creative frenzy and workaholic addiction.
So now, I’m slowing down and daydreaming and making lists and asking questions: what happens here? What’s the transition? Who’s missing in action? Who’s sulking backstage?
(My villain, for one. He’s such a diva, and he’s German into the bargain. Sturm-und-Drang requires rather more sound equipment than mere Emo. He’s ticked off with me that I didn’t personally interview him in October along with the Hero and Heroine. That’s an oversight I will have to rectify in next year’s NaNo. For this go-round, he’ll have to settle for being interviewed prior to the first round of structural revision.)
Creative work has a rhythm like a heartbeat or breathing: there’s the phase of effort and then the phase of no-effort, push and release, generation and reflection. I think this first draft novel will be a full three-months’ effort, and well worth it: a fully grown first draft that nonetheless has the flexibility for extensive revision.