Old biddies like me will probably get this immediately, but those of you young enough not to relate to my favourite Doug Stanhope joke (‘You ever look in the mirror in the morning and think: that can’t be accurate?’) may not immediately recognise this ident (from 1982. Long sigh. Such an innocent time…) (For me, anyway. I was 9.)
Here’s what it turns into eventually…
Yes, people, it’s Day Four of NaNoWriMo, and doing these daily counts makes me feel just a little as if I’m in The Ring, counting down to Death by Sadako on day seven. Or one of the murderous school kids in Battle Royale, with three days to kill or be killed. Luckily the real-life stakes are somewhat lower: I’ll finish my novel; or I won’t. The world is unlikely to end, either way. The world’s most likely response, I’d suggest, is: meh.
What I love about NaNo, though, is the stats page on the website. My bars, as you’ll see, are cross and blue: it’s lunchtime as I write this, and the big fat ZERO on ‘words written today’ is letting me down somewhat. If you scroll down you’ll see I’m predicted to finish 9 days late if I carry on being such a flipping slowcoach.
As soon as I’ve churned out my words for the day, the blue bar will turn green. It’s like getting a gold star on your homework, or 10/10 on a test. ‘Good girl,’ says NaNoWriMo, and the ass-kissing, brown-nosed child inside of me goes all smug and falsely-suprised like the week’s Star Baker on GBBO. (As screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan said, ‘Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.’)
So, yes, I get a kick from achieving my targets (at sticky moments I’ll update my word count after every sentence). I get such a kick from achieving my targets that Ass-kissing Brown-Noser overrides Lazy-Assed Procrastinator, and actually gets some fricking work done around here – no matter how late it is, or what’s on’t telly, or whether a glass or two of wine has been drunk – because the fact is that, left to my own devices, I’m one of those hamster-wheel writers, endlessly treading the same few pages and waking from a twelve-month reverie to find 29 versions of chapters 1 to 4 on my laptop and precious all else.
And then, too, if I’m honest, I’m disturbingly skilled at allowing the livelong day to drift by without really achieving anything. I’m a woman constantly on the verge of beginning the day’s writing. Even now, for instance, although on one simple level I’m writing a blog post what I’m actually doing is putting off my ‘writing’ writing.
If you, like me, wish there was some kind of AA for procrastinators, stop reading this now and head AT ONCE to this amazing post about procrastination on Wait But Why. And, in exchange, I’ll stop blogging, aka procrastinating, and start sucking up to NaNo again.
Epilogue: after hours in the Dark Playground (read the link above!) I’ve finished with a rather gratifying 2563 words for the day.