A Dressing Up, A Dressing Down: RIP My NaNoWriMo 2011, Long Live Movember!

First: let me admit that there really wasn’t much hope for me to do NaNoWriMo this year. In fact, it was really a doomed proposition, given that I’ve felt that I’ve had no free time lately, and really need to make the homestretch push on getting my Phd finished, done, over with. It’s really what I’ve been needing to do, and perhaps part of me has been avoiding it for a while.

Writing a PhD is a complex task. In fact, for a computer science PhD, it’s not even writing half of the time. Rather, it’s all that science stuff of hypothesis, experiment, observe and record, but combined with the added difficulty of software design and coding, and not to mention throwing in all the formal philosophical thought in logic and math.

It’s hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do, and it’s been daunting me for a while.

Part of the problem with this thing is my over-achieving, perfectionist streak. When I design and build code, I design a Cadillac and built a tank — or at least, that is my goal, and I’m rarely satisfied with code which doesn’t work that elegantly and solidly. It’s a good trait in many instances, but it can be downright deadly when trying to simply finish something.

Writing fiction is a release for me. It doesn’t involve the constant fact-checking, referencing and demonstrable and extensive body of results in support from bulletproof and extensively tested code. It just needs words, and the world has to have some consistency to it, and it has to be interesting. I can speculate all I want, declare certain things to be true (even though they are patently false) and get away with it, in fiction.

But fact, that’s a real bugger. That’s a thing that demands perfection from me, and it’s damn near killed me.

I was hoping to do NaNo as a mental break, to focus on something other than my thesis and something which demands creative thinking but has few rules. But no idea came, and the time seemed better served in going back to the neglected thesis. The thesis is a complex web, however, and getting back to it — even if it has only be a short while away — isn’t easy. Trying to break off a manageable chunk in the free time I have sometimes consumes all the free time, leaving me with little accomplished. That’s frustrating beyond imagination, and makes it even harder to muster up the spirit..

But enough about that. My thesis is getting some attention again, and I feel close to buttoning down one of the sections into a demonstrable experiment. (Oh yes: there will be graphs!)

As you can see, Movember is progressing along schedule. I’ve also decided that Tuesdays are “vest” days. Why? No reason, other than the fact that there is no reason. I have these clothes that I rarely wear, but I like wearing them. They’re fancier than normal. My job doesn’t need them. I have no reason to wear them. So, I wear them.

It’s my own form of costuming, perhaps. I feel good when wearing them, and wish I could wear them more often. But I can’t, so I don’t. Furthermore, I don’t want to wear these clothes every day. They’d become less special, less like a costume, too normal. We dress in normal clothing most of the time, why would I lower my unusual clothes to normal status?

Instead, I elevate the day by doing some special. Casual days be damned! I want my Formal Day. They become special days, these Tuesdays, and I revel in them.

And now they are blog update days. Ostensibly, this is some post about the process of growing a moustache, but that doesn’t seem that interesting, so they rarely are…

Although now I have to figure out exactly what kind of moustache I can (realistically) grow!

2 thoughts on “A Dressing Up, A Dressing Down: RIP My NaNoWriMo 2011, Long Live Movember!

  1. Well, first off there’s a section on the NaNo site for people that are writing things other than novels for NaNo. You can use your word count on your thesis to help your regions’s word count. Seeing the word count rise each day may encourage you to work harder on it as well. I started Nano and have a great idea, but I’ve given up hope of 50,000 words by 11/30. I’ll get as much as I can done when I can though.

    I love the idea of Formal Day! I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the last two year and I have all these nice clothes that I never wear anymore. Along with that I’m not doing hair, makeup, and all that girly stuff anymore. I don’t want to fool with all that everyday (cuz I don’t have to 🙂 but it would be nice to pick a day a week and dress nicely just for the sake of it. Thanks for the idea!

  2. Thanks for the reply.

    Good to know that about the non-fiction section of NaNo — I’m having problems trying to get registered at all (I’m working with their tech support to fix it), but I also think that the word count will be quite difficult to figure out, given that a lot of it is code. I don’t think that punctuation counts for “words”, but it certainly counts in code..

    Still, if I can registered, I’ll look into it.

    And I’m glad you like the idea of Formal Day. I chose Tuesday more-or-less at random, but it kinda makes sense. Monday is the drag day, and adding more to your morning routine seems excessive. Wednesday is Hump Day, where frivolous distractions shouldn’t be there to get in the way of working hard. Thursday is a candidate, but it feels like a day you should be getting stuff done to let you leave early on Friday. And Friday? Well, it’s already Casual, so the conflict would be annoying..

    But given that most of us dress pretty casually all the time — moreso than ever before! — I think a Formal Day is a classy act. I’ve been working up to it, tho — next week, I add a tie. 🙂

    Thanks for dropping by!

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