NaNoEdMo: A Little Like Being Locked in a Tower

Well, March is just a little over halfway over, and I’m barely a smidgen over the halfway mark for NaNoEdMo, clocking in this morning at 26.88 hours out of 50.

Despite putting in an hour and a half per day, the edits sometimes feel as if they are happening excruciatingly slowly. I guess that’s to be expected when one is revising not just any first draft, but one that was written during the “anything goes!” frenzy of NaNoWriMo. Still, it kind of boggles my mind to know that it took me less time to write this story than to edit it — by the midpoint in November, I had made it further writing than I’ve made this month editing, despite the fact that I’m actually putting in more time. That’s right, it takes more time to rearrange words than it takes to throw them all over the page.

I’m also noticing something interesting about working on Rapunzel for my NaNoEdMo project. It’s starting to feel claustrophobic. It’s sometimes excruciating to spend an hour and a half in that tower every day, with only Rapunzel, her cat, and the witch for company. That hour and a half often crawls by. When the timer goes off, I’m usually eager to leave. Free at last!!

But when you do a writing challenge like this, and must return to your project in a dedicated way day after day after day, regardless of what else you’re trying to accomplish as your life continues to go on around you, you’re not ever really free of it. And I think that’s why these challenges work so well for those who choose to accept them. And I’ve found that although I’m not a huge fan of competition, I’m incredibly competitive against myself, so I rarely let myself off the hook when I take on these projects even though there isn’t nay “real” consequence for failing to finish them (you know, the way there are “real” consequences for if I don’t make as much money as I should this month.)

Overall, this has been a very rich experience for me with this particular story because it drives home the isolation and claustrophobia of the tower in a way that working on it a little here, a little there, as time and life allows, never could. Even NaNoWriMo didn’t really impress it on me. Although I had to return to it every day, my output was frantic, stream-of-consciousness, and rushed. I could skim the surface, throw those words down, and get the hell out as soon as possible.

Rapunzel didn’t have that option. And I’m getting a taste of what that must have been like this month.