Paul Butzi has an interesting post looking for feedback from those who started but didn't finish SoFoBoMo last year. The hope is that we can perhaps tweak the process to get even more finished works this time around. I wrote a longish, rambling response, touching on concepts of fear and scope, that I'll repeat here with some changes. I've been reading books like Art & Fear by David Bayles &Ted Orland and The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. I think those are influencing my views for now. Please feel free to comment here or over on Paul's blog post about your SoFoBoMo experiences and what you might like to see changed to help you finish.
I wonder how much of the non-finished attempts could be more honestly chalked up to fear and internal self-doubt. I don’t expect many or any participants to own up to this one, other than maybe to themselves. I know I had a lot of doubt about what I was doing along the way. Fear is a powerful motivator in this artistic thing. Fear of it not being good enough, fear of people not getting it. Worried that you are just wasting your time and other people’s that will get to view the pictures.
The naggy self-censor in your head kicks in and tells you what a joke it is and nobody would want to look at it. Or you start comparing against what other people have done and just know,know that what you are doing doesn’t measure up. So if it isn’t good enough, why embarrass yourself publicly. Easier just to to stop now. Stop wasting your time and do all those other things that you need to do that are more important, that you know how to do and people won’t laugh at you for doing.
Or maybe it isn’t art and you don’t aspire to be an artist with your camera. It’s all just taking pictures and then its easy. Or perhaps you do aspire to be an artist with your camera and are concerned you’ve got nothing to say. Put it in a book and everyone will realise there’s nothing to say in your head. No voice. Boring. Hide it away again.
The time pressure was a realistic issue with SoFoBoMo. Much to do, little time to do it, particularly if you think of the ‘final’ product as an actual final product. The National Novel in a Month looks at the output as a first draft - expecting heavy revision - but it is about getting it done, down on paper as a starting point. I suspect the album in a month challenge is similar - those aren’t supposed to be the final cuts of the tracks - just getting them recorded once and into something you can then move forward.
So maybe we set the bar a bit high with aiming for a finished book? Maybe a finished draft would be better, with an expectation of further editing to come.
I would be really curious to know how many SoFoBoMo entries went beyond the end of the month to further revise and reprint and improve? I know for mine I did very little tweaking - done was done. I reprinted with a different cover finish, but didn’t change the book at all, other than a slight re-tweaking of the image colours to suit the print output of the first print. Maybe SoFoBoMo needs another piece 6 months offset from the initial draft, where we tidy up and finish the work? Maybe re-edit, tweak, reconsider etc and really make the final book with a less biased and involved eye?
But really I think deep down, the internal voices that say stop wasting your time kill projects like this a whole lot more often than real world pressures - there's always time if you really think it is important enough. If you can keep the nagging voices quiet for a few days at a time to get it finished.