NaNoWri I

There are dates that make me look back at my actions over the past year, or 5, or 15, and ask; “Have I done enough to be the person I want to be?” That question has evolved over time, of course. It used to be “Have I done enough to achieve my goals,” and then “Have I done enough to be happy?” and briefly “Have I done enough to meet my maker in confidence?” I’m not saying those are bad versions of the question, either. They just aren’t the ones that resonate the most with me right now.

So have I done enough? No, not by a long shot. Okay, that naturally leads to; “What should I do that I’m not, or stop doing that I’m habitual about?” Which quickly segue to “When?” and “How?”

In recent years, Nov 1st has been one of those anniversaries because of NaNoWriMo. As friends and patrons talk about making a run at 50k words of fiction written in 30 days I think about the stories I have always meant to write. The stories I want to write. The fiction I somehow never have time to write.

Oddly, my job as a writer seems to get in the way of writing. Because I usually can’t afford to turn down a paid game-writing job to make time to write fiction I have no sure sale for, and at 60-80 hour weeks spent on sure-money-writing it’s hard to fit in more on top of what I am doing. Heck, I am almost guaranteed to NOT sell my first few complete long stories. And even if they do sell, 50k is not a novel and not a length with a lot of popular sales venues. So even if I decided that 60-hour weeks of game writing was not enough, that all the new business things I need to tackle were not enough, that being the new Pathfinder developer at Green Ronin was not enough and I *really* wanted to write 50k words in November, come Dec 1st I would not be done.
So every year, I sit at my desk on November 1st, and decide I’m not doing it. It’s not practical. It wouldn’t be useful. This is not the when. This is not the how. And each time, a year later, I wonder if that was the right call.
Failure, of course, is part of the process of success. And a failure to try is sometimes the smart call. But if you always do what you have always done, you’ll always have what you’ve always gotten. And I am tired of the answers I am giving my own questions.

So this year, I am going to fail differently. I am going to start writing. I have done 0 work on planning this out. I have no plan, no outline, and to be honest no expectation I can manage to write fiction every day, or get 50k words done in 30 days. Not with my commitments. Not with this workload. I expect I’ll fail.

But this year, I plan to fail differently.

Progress: 0 of 50,000 words.


About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on November 1, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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