Camp NaNo: The Fear of Completion

There are two things I found as I entered the second half of my fifty thousand words for Camp NaNo. The first was that I was doing a bit more on the actual story; while my initial run had been a small amount of novel-relevant writing and a whole lot of company fluff, now it’s mostly novel stuff (or occasionally blog posts) and a little bit of company fluff each day.

It wasn’t a problem in the beginning, when I started switching between prompts to keep my wordcount steady. I was behind. The fluff prompts were easy count-boosters. No, the problem came later, when I was past 25,000 words, when this prompt and that prompt were finished in all their little permutations and combinations and I had described all but five religions, with three of said five stragglers so similar to each other they were hard to write copy for without feeling somewhat guilty about the repetition. In the beginning, or at least during those days out of state when work wasn’t an issue, I had a routine. I’d wake up grumble a bit about mornings; roll over, grab the notebook that held my story (or, at that point slightly more often, the one that held my prepwork and rambling planning notes), and scrawl for a little bit. Then I’d get up and handle standard prep-for-the-day routines. When I got to the computer, whenever that was, the first thing I’d do was put on some music and transcribe everything new from the notebooks, revising and making minor additions as I went. Once that was finished, I’d generally pull up my company materials, check by the forum, and hit the prompts in alphabetical order: the only time I so much as slowed on that was on the first day I pushed company work, when I was waiting for commentary on my first efforts. And sometimes, transcribing something or typing up something else would give me a blog post idea, so I’d take a short digression to type that in: as long as it was relevant, it counted for words.

Now, though, it’s different. The story is no easier than it was before; if anything, most of the easy planning is done, and progress happens in 500-word chunks if I’m lucky. Unprepped intrigue is hard. But at the same time, I look at the prompts I have to write, consider them, and decide instead to try to find additional prompts rather than filling the old ones, as if I’m afraid to run out, or afraid to finish.

I suppose I technically am. Not afraid to finish this month of mad writing, mind; I’ve bribed myself decently thoroughly, and I’m going to make that fifty thousand words if it kills me. But on the prompts, I’m afraid to run out. It’s not that they’re hard, per se, or at least not a decent number of them (all right, some are a tad tricky), it’s that I have to think ahead. What happens if I get those out of the way, but then, on the 29th or 30th, I sit down to write and I have nothing? What if, on the cusp of victory, I fail because I left nothing that could be converted into a last-minute burst of loquacious elocution?

So instead of completing what I originally planned to complete, I find myself finishing just about everything else; sometimes, I even find new things to do, or things it hadn’t occurred to anyone needed to get done, for the sake of not finishing the tasks I know I have to do. On the plus side, at least I know what I’m doing is something that I’m going to need to get done.

Ever dealt with something similar?

Leave a Reply