Elizabeth Bear did a very bad thing: she started a new LJ community called novel_in_90. The basic premise is that of NaNoWriMo — commit to working for a specific amount of time on the same writing project, building the discipline to plug away at attainable daily wordcount levels until they pile up into a real novel.
I am torn. On the one hand, 750 words a day for 90 days is a lot more sustainable in the long run than NaNoWriMo's frantic pace. NaNoWriMo always comes at a really bad time of the year. There's not even a set starting date, or any other of the various formalities that NaNoWriMo has grown. There's just you, the community, the wordcount, and the mocking. I really need to get some of this fiction inside my head out on paper. My fiction writing has been getting short shrift for years and I'm going to be busy for the forseeable future; I just need to pony up and carve the time out from somewhere, or stop talking about being a fiction author.
On the other hand, I'm pretty damn busy in the writing department. I've got four chapters I'm finishing up for a forthcoming Exchange 2007 book, I've got another chapter that I'll be writing for another Exchange 2007 book in February, and my editor and I are settling the details of a book I'll be writing with a co-worker come March. Let's not add in there that I have presentations for Exchange Connections in April to be developing, let alone the normal work load and the blogging. My family expects time from me, for some reason — more than they've been getting. All of the above writing gigs are paying gigs, agreed to with Steph's approval.
On the gripping hand…I subscribed to the community almost immediately. I've been watching the introductory posts roll in. Good Lord…it's is quite easy to separate the pros from the wannabes. One group is talking about deadlines, editors, revisions, and all the other nuts-n-bolts of the publication trade. The other group is talking about inspiration, the stuff they did in high school, and how they've had these ideas eating their brains for years.
When it comes to the technical writing, I'm firmly in the pro camp, even if I still struggle with time management and discipline. I know now how much work goes into writing and publishing a technical book. I don't look forward to it, but it's a known quantity and I know I'm capable of doing it. When it comes to fiction, however, I'm the wannabe.
So here's the decision: once I get these four chapters done, do I take the plunge to get The Next Day back in gear? 750 words isn't a lot at all, especially once I get writing. I can do that easily in less than an hour — 25-30 minutes once I get warmed up. And if I'm doing it every day, I'll stay warmed up. All I have to do is give up the faffing about that I do around the house. All I have to do is decide whether I want to be a wannabe or a pro.