To NaNo or Not NaNo...what a question

It's Mid-October, which means many writers everywhere are pondering the big question...

Do I try to do NaNoWriMo this year?

NaNoWriMo is shorthand for National Novel Writing Month where writers everywhere attempt to write a novel the month of November. The NaNoWriMo folks even give you tools to help you in your quest like an online page where you can track your progress with a pretty graph, forums, local "chapters" where you can meet up with fellow NaNoers, and Twitter sprints while everyone tries to "win" by reaching their goal of a book in a month.

Sound daunting?

NaNoWriMo defines "novel" as 50,000 words.

Yep, 50k.

I have never, ever written a 50k novel. Even my Middle Grade ended at 73k (and needs to be whittled down considerably.)

So really, you don't need to write a beginning, middle, and end, to "win", just 50k. Even if you don't write the whole WIP, 50k is a big dent in any project. (Now, technically you're supposed to start a brand new project for NaNoWriMo, but I won't tell if you use it to finish a project. A finished project is epically better than an unfinished one.)

If you do the math, 50k in a month breaks down to less than 1,700 words a day. Even someone who's time crunched like me could handle that...if I was organized.

NaNo is 99% dedication and being organized. It's carving out time and writing every day, weather you're going solo, using write-or-die, doing online writing sprints with your writing peeps, or going to a write-in.

There's something fun about doing NaNo, since so many other people are trying to accomplish the same goal at the same time. Friends can provide great motivation to continue when you're stuck or feel like giving up. It's also kind of neat to be able to say you "won" NaNo.

NaNo is also not for everyone.

Everyone writes differently.

Depending on your process you might not be able put out that many words that fast without a break.

November might be too crazy to carve out the time to write. It does require a little planning to remove excuses and roadblocks (preparing the fam, making a few dinners ahead of time, clearing your calender).

It might require a sacrifice or two. Last year I did bring my laptop to Thanksgiving.

Your NaNo project is also the only project you'll be doing for a month so you may have to think can I drop everything and write this month? Would it be best for you to continue with your current project...or finish those evil edits before starting a new project?

For example, last November I was in a great place to do NaNo--I needed to write that project and it provided just the motivation I needed. I wrote 63k in three weeks.

This year, as much as I'd love to write something new, I think I'm going to have to sit NaNo out. Right now I think would be best for me to finish editing the two projects I have in progress, including my Middle Grade Elfpunk I just finished drafting. Then I can perhaps think about something new...

However, I am teaching an online class in November, so I will be encouraging everyone else to NaNo.

So, will you NaNo this year? Why or why not?

3 comments:

lynnrush said...

Yeah. I'm gonna NaNo this year. I did it for the first time last year. It was great fun connecting with all the NaNo writers! I think if you get 50K into a novel that has a target of 75k or 80k that's good. I've never had a novel be less than 75k either. Most are 80k, so NaNo is just a starting off point for me. :-)

I just think it's fun. I hope you join. If you do, I'm LynnRush on the NaNo boards.

Cindy Carroll said...

I'm doing NaNo this year. I'm putting my current WIP aside for the month and working on something brand new. I can't wait to start writing it. Last year I tried NaNo but I was teaching a workshop and taking a workshop so I only wrote 14,000 words. This year I intend to win!

Julia Barrett said...

Not doing it. Too many other things going on. Maybe someday.