April Fool’s. Hindrance or help?

A friend told me about a writing challenge that is more flexible than NaNoWriMo but still operates to kickstart writing and keep it going. She also asked me to advertise it. You can find the details here:

April Fool’s (the FAQ) (and April Fool’s Forums)

You can set your own goals, include non-fiction/academic writing of various kinds, and get support from others who have signed up.

For once, I’m tempted.

I have followed the adventures of various writer friends on NaNoWriMo and frankly, have not been impressed. I have watched people fail, and be miserable. I have watched them succeed in producing work that will take an eternity to edit into anything worthwhile. I have watched people spend more time worrying about their wordcount than about the words they need to fill it. I have watched people sit back satisfied with second-rate work because they managed to produce it in the allotted time.

Having said that, I am sure some writers find they work well to a deadline and get things finished that would otherwise languish in WIP folders. And if they don’t mind the editing, who am I to criticise?

I have never worked well under pressure. Stress has two possible effects on me. Sometimes I panic and dig my heels in as a form of resistance. Not helpful. Sometimes I just fall apart and do nothing which has the same result. This applies even if I am the one exerting the pressure… It also applies in any sphere – driving, cooking, writing, even getting ready to go out.

I am not at all sure why. I used to work happily under the pressure imposed by exam deadlines. Perhaps that’s the trouble? So many exams and qualifications and courses and I burnt out?

I imagine everyone (even the career academic), has a point at which enough is more than enough.

So why the change of heart? Well, after my recent hospital experience my concentration and clarity are shot to pieces and perhaps I need to set myself some goals to help them recover. If the goals really are self-set, they can also be self-averted if they prove ineffective or negative. I hope.

I think I shall give it a try. I need something to get me going again… And it has come at just the right time. I have already signed up for a fanfic challenge – a novella for ‘publication’ within the fandom later in the year. My beta needs something to work on by June at the latest, and I also need a rough draft to attract an artist or vidder by then. I have the plot and have done some research. Now I need to start typing.

Meanwhile, some of you might work at your best under deadlines and pressure and might welcome this April challenge instead of having to wait till November.

Maybe I’ll see some of you on the forum?

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