Wednesday, October 23, 2013

To NaNoWriMo or Not to NaNoWriMo

As a lot of you know, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming up very soon. I participated for the first time last year and now I’m trying to decide whether to participate again this year.

The thing is…I technically completed the challenge last year - I made it to 50,411 words (50,000 is the goal) - but I ended up hating the book and wanting to kill it with fire. There’s nothing wrong with the book, but I think the pressure went to my head and made me doubt myself. It’s been almost a year and that book is still unfinished. I haven’t touched it since November 29th, 2012, when I hit the goal number and said ‘screw this’ (well, what I actually said was a bit more colourful than that but I feel I should keep this post PG).
I won! I have a shiny badge to prove it! And it only cost me what little sanity I had left!
I can write 2,000 words a day. That’s not usually a problem for me. I can even write every single day - I mean, that is my job after all, I’m a writer. But there’s something about the pressure of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s exciting and terrifying and annoying and maddening and it drove me crazy. It was also awesome to know that a gazillion other people were doing it, and to have people cheering me on. There are a lot of pros and cons to participating, and that’s why I’m so torn.

I have an idea that I’ve been going to start anyway, so I keep telling myself to just do it for NaNoWriMo. I keep telling myself not to let the pressure get to me like it did last year. I keep telling myself it’ll be fun and that I’ll meet some great new people and connect with other writers. I keep telling myself that I’m already batshit crazy (oops, there goes the PG rating of this post), so why not just go for it?

I know the point of NaNoWriMo is to sit your ass down, put your fingers to the keyboard, and just WRITE, get the story out of you in any form, even if it's a complete mess. And I mean this isn't my first rodeo. I know I can write an entire novel in that amount of time - I wrote Waiting for the Storm (which is 60,000+ words) in three weeks last summer (plus, you know, several other full-length novels and novellas). I just need to get my head in the right space. And speaking of that, that's kind of another pro to participating - I've been all over the place lately (literally and otherwise), so this would be the perfect excuse I need to get the words out when I've been a) procrastinating, and b) too busy doing everything BUT write. But then I just thought of another con: I’m going to be out of town for 3-4 days in November…2 of them I’ll be out of the country, and it’s the last two days of the month. GAH! *pulls hair out*

But...I mean, clearly I'm already nuts, so what's a bit more crazy heaped on the pile, right?

Yes! Cake for everyone!
 What do you think? Should I give NaNoWriMo another shot? Are you participating? Have you participated in the past? 



  1. I'm participating this year, and (so far) my wrists don't seem to be giving me the "Hell no!" they did last year, so I'm pretty excited about that. :D

    I think it really depends on your own writing process and whether the structure of NaNo works for or against you. I've never won a formal NaNo, but my first and third drafts for Sealer's Promise were both written within that type of structure. Now, my book is a 90,000 word novel and I didn't finish the whole thing in one month, but the freedom *I* get from thinking the way I have to to meet a NaNo type goal gets words onto the page. (It also likely helps that I'm an outliner.)

    The big downside to that kinda writing, *for me*, is that I don't READ when I write like that. I can't begin to tell you how BAD I want to read a book right now and not be analyzing its structure, syntax, characters, plot... Just enjoying it, rather than looking at it like it's a piece of machinery I want to take apart and put back together. >.<

    My favorite thing about NaNo is actually their forums. It's great to have another place where I can get a opinions on parts of my work that I'm not sure about--forks in the road where the plot / characters could veer right or left and the results would be totally different.

    Anyway, I hope something here helps you one way or another. :) Good luck with your decision. :)

  2. I'm planning on "participating" in the background by using November to write my novella idea. That way I just have it set up as a personal goal to reach and I can help motivate others as they motivate me. :)

    Since you've already won once, what do you have to lose? I'd say go for it. OR you can do what I'm doing, and just set a smaller goal. Whatever floats your boat! :D

  3. I love those Friends GIFs! Will have to bookmark the one of Phoebe running.

    As for participating, I'd say yes, unless that's too stressful. It's supposed to make you a bit crazy, but we don't want you to get a writing burn out because you were forced to write over 2K words every day. (:

  4. I don't do Nano. When I first heard about it, I didn't have a new story. By the next year, I knew the way I wrote didn't mesh well with how Nano was. I can't write under pressure and Nano puts too much on me. I think I'm one of 5 people (yeah, I picked a random small number) who don't do it. Before it even starts, I am ready for it to be over with and for people to shut up about it.

    If you want to do it, do it, but if you have any doubt, like maybe you'll hate the story in the end like the last one, I'd say pass. If you're going to write, you want to love the story when it's finished.

  5. I am going to write a lot in November, I've decided, and I'm going to TRY to get a draft done of Reece's book. BUT I'm not signing up for NaNo. I love the idea of it, and if I had time to JUST write and wasn't working, I might do it. But I know me, and I know I don't do well when I set such strict goals for myself. It's not FUN anymore. It's why I don't do read-a-thons, because I always peter out after awhile - I start feeling the pressure, and I can't do it.

    So, should you do NaNo? If you REALLY want to. If you can do it and not stress like last time. But instead, maybe you should just WRITE in November, and see what happens. :)

  6. I wasn't planning on participating, but now I see all the NaNo stuff going up and I want to be like everyone else!!! It's definitely a weird time of year for me with baby on the way, but since all the baby stuff is finished maybe I can complete that one pre-baby goal of writing somethiing? Or at least ACCOMPLISHING NaNo ... aaarg! Now you're making ME think about it!

  7. Late comment is late, but that's why I'm participating. I haven't won a NaNo yet, but I will one of these days. My real goal is to a) give myself a kick in the butt to write SOMETHING, and b) quit over analyzing so much.

    So far on my Twitter, there are so many book bloggers doing it. I really like that aspect, which you get only in November because of the event. It would be nice to keep that going all year long...


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