“The biggest thing separating people from their artistic
ambitions is not a lack of talent.
It's the lack of a deadline.”
The above quote was tweeted ten hours ago by @Quotes4Writers, and was about the first thing I read this morning. Immediately it hit me as being true; the most obvious, yet powerfully motivating of all the quotes for writers I have ever read. Had I been working to a deadline I may have finished my novel (that novel that all of us writery-types believe we had in us... if only we had the time...) years ago. A decent novel length is around 100,000 words, and this blog surpassed that landmark about six months ago.
|F. Scott Fitzgerald|
Immediately I read the quote to my fiancee and she agreed. In the time it takes to make a cup of tea she had decided upon my deadline and, importantly, the punishment for failing. So here it is, in indelible cached internet text for all y'all to see and hold me to: my deadline, for delivering three chapters (of approximately 10,000 words each) and a treatment, is 31st October 2011. My punishment, should I fail, is that I shall receive NO books from anyone at all for Christmas this year. To me that is a very severe punishment; and it is one that my fiancee would be perfectly willing and able to mete out. She would easily be able to convince everyone I know to assist her in delivering this punishment. We have shook on it.
I then googled Chris Baty, the source of the quote, since I had never heard the name. What I found could not have been more perfectly timed if it was hacked out plot exposition followed by an unlikely meeting with an old aquaintance. He is the founder of the annual National Novel Writing Month (cutesily abrvd to NaNoWriMo). During the month of November (i.e. beginning the day after my three chapters and a treatment) participants of NaNoWriMo have thirty days and nights to write 50,000 words of a novel. This is the big league; three chapters in over two months is a mere warm-up.
I have signed up for NaNoWriMo, and am now an Official Participant... ooh, exciting. I almost used an exclamaition point; something I would never do outside blogs, facebook, twitter or txts. Might be a good idea if I stay away from such bad habits with the amount of writing, and the seriousness of the challenge, I have just committed myself to. I was not expecting this of a Sunday morning!
Now, with this daily blog to continue writing, and an approximate word count of 80,000 to weave between now and December, I suddenly hit a mental block and after shift+1ing out the exclamation ending the previous paragraph my face dunced and my fingers froze. But fortunately I've said all I came to say. Challenge stated, accepted and declared.