At approximately this time every year, someone inevitably asks me a question that--for me--had started to become cringeworthy. "Katie," they would say, "are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo?"
It's not that I want to not write a novel, mind you, it's just that...well, a lot of people seemed convinced that any creative mind worth his or her salt would attempt to scribble away and write something in the month of November. Jump on the bandwagon, most of them seemed to be saying. This month, we're all writing novels--so why don't you attempt to write a novel in a month as well?
But see, I have this perfectionism problem. I can be a tremendously prolific writer when I want to be: but just because I can write a lot when I want to doesn't mean that what I write is actually any good.
I realized this the other day when I knocked out a silly, grammar-related, four-paragraph (ish) e-mail at work in about...ten minutes. Probably less than that. I double-checked it for typos and such (because really, wouldn't it be super ironic to send out a grammar-related e-mail with errors?) and sent it off, not terribly worried. It's not that I wanted it to go unread, mind you, but I didn't have a lot of personal investment in that e-mail.
It's impossible not to create something larger without becoming invested in it. And that investment, in turn, leads to the perfectionism quandary: I don't want to let go of anything, even in a small way, until I'm more or less satisfied with it. If I tapped into my powers of prolificness (prolificivity?)...I have a feeling my initial result would look bad. If I lucked out, it might look not entirely bad...But it would be mostly bad.
Except that it occurred to me a few days ago that most things need to be a little (or a lot) bad, because we see what needs improvement--and then we can improve it. So this year, I'll actually participate in this November writing event to see what I can come up with. And I'll talk myself into not expecting things to be perfect right away.
We'll see how it goes.