Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On NaNoWriMo and THE CULT OF DONE

I wish I could claim credit for writing what I'm about to share with you, but I can't. 

What I can claim credit for (so far) is acting on Bre Pettis's THE CULT OF DONE in support of my National Novel Writing Month project JIHAD COMIX. If I can still say that on December 1, 2012, that will be even better.

For me, "acting on THE CULT OF DONE" means getting up early, six days out of seven, to add more countable new words to my outline and deal with new thematic issues by writing yet more countable words. After that's done, I can move on to Things That Aren't the Novel. 

Starting November 1, I plan inshaAllah to take this same DO SOMETHING approach to the task of generating 1667 countable new words a day on this novel's first draft.

I reproduce THE CULT OF DONE here for two reasons. First, because this manifesto, by Bre Pettis, was a real breakthrough for me, and second, because it seems likely, if it is discussed as widely as it deserves to be, to serve some percentage of the 300,000 or so people who are expected to take part in NaNoWriMo this year.

Particularly relevant for our purposes is #3, which is, I believe, a Zen koan is worthy of close consideration by any writer.

Okay, HERE COMES THE PART I DIDN'T WRITE:

Dear Members of the Cult of Done,
I present to you a manifesto of done. This was written in collaboration with Kio Stark in 20 minutes because we only had 20 minutes to get it done.
The Cult of Done Manifesto
  1. There are three states of being. Not knowing, action and completion.
  2. Accept that everything is a draft. It helps to get it done.
  3. There is no editing stage.
  4. Pretending you know what you're doing is almost the same as knowing what you are doing, so just accept that you know what you're doing even if you don't and do it.
  5. Banish procrastination. If you wait more than a week to get an idea done, abandon it.
  6. The point of being done is not to finish but to get other things done.
  7. Once you're done you can throw it away.
  8. Laugh at perfection. It's boring and keeps you from being done.
  9. People without dirty hands are wrong. Doing something makes you right.
  10. Failure counts as done. So do mistakes.
  11. Destruction is a variant of done.
  12. If you have an idea and publish it on the internet, that counts as a ghost of done.
  13. Done is the engine of more.