I may have finally lost my marbles. After abandoning my project after just a week in 2010 due to workload pressures, I took part again in 2011 even though my workload had increased. If I thought my workload was heavy last year then I was delusional. Things are even worse this time around. Amongst other things, I'm drowning in the current chapter of my thesis, I'm rewriting one novel in segments for my agent, I'm writing regularly for 2020UK and I have a new project in the pipeline (more on that next week). I really don't have time for NaNo - so why am I doing it?
Well, if there's one thing this year has taught me it's that I find it very difficult to finish a first draft without the added incentive of the NaNo deadline. I'm working on something which is around 36k at the moment and every time I try and get back into it I can't. Not because I don't want to write it but because there isn't the deadline in my head which lies that I have to finish it by a specific date or I lose. It's not that I can't set my own deadlines, it's just that when other things are pressing externally (like the PhD and the novel rewrite) they take precedence over arbitrary deadlines. I can't fool my mind into thinking something's important when it isn't. However, I have managed to fool myself into thinking NaNo is important.
It gives me a first draft. No matter that the 2011 completed draft hasn't been worked on since - I still know what needs to change about it and I'm waiting for a window in my schedule. I think it's important to get as many first drafts down as I can. If the last two years have taught me anything it's that I can't predict how much more hectic things are going to get so I need to squeeze as much in while I can.
So I'm in, despite the fact that I'm away for a few days after the 5th November and despite the fact I'll miss my usual first day spurt due to a 'Careers in Academia' session. I promise to heed the advice of friends who think I'm close to collapse and give up if necessary. I promise to listen specifically to Claire because she has a sixth sense about when I'm close to pitching myself off a cliff. I have an idea (more on that next week) and I'm raring to go. I just hope the end of November doesn't come around as quickly as it did last year.