October 26th, 2008
Mulling over NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo, if you’re not familiar with it, stands for National Novel Writing Month — November of every year. The goal of the participants is write 50,000 for the month. It boils down to around 1,500 a day. 1,666 if you want to get particular.

I’m a big fan of new writers turning off the internal editor. With a monthly word count goal of 50k, your internal editor is definitely going to be off. NaNo is also cool because it gives writers a place to gather and push each other further. It gives them a common goal to meet and does it in an organized manner.

But it seems like every time November rolls around I’m in between writing projects, or am mired somewhere halfway in the second draft of a novel and unable to get the momentum up that I’d need to maintain for NaNo. This year I’m in a perfect position to do it. I have most my research done, have the synopses written, and the new world I’m writing about is alive and existing as a place in my mind. I’m all set to dive in and writewritewritewrite. I’d planned to start doing just that November 1st.

Indeed, that’s exactly what I need to do. I need to turn off my internal editor to squeeze out the maximum amount of creativity I can get from my pea brain and just GO!

At the same time, since I write on deadline (and I’m not about to miss one if I can help it), I can’t afford any huge missteps in the writing of my new novel. Also, my writing process can be strange. Writing isn’t always butt-in-chair-hands-on-keyboard for me. Sometimes “writing” is thinking, planning. Lots of times when I’m writing, I’ll get stuck in a place in the plot and have nowhere to go until i can work out the kink. That means taking a day off to think about where my characters have been and where they’re going. That means I don’t necessarily meet my word count goal every day, but I’m still doing important internal work that will bear fruit later on.

I don’t think I’ve ever written 50k in a month. If I have, I don’t know about it (normally I don’t keep track, to be honest).

So, I’m mulling it over. I might sign up for NaNo, but give myself a way out if this novel proves not to flow very easily. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t.

So I already asked this, but I’ll ask again. Anybody doing NaNo this year?

3 comments to “Mulling over NaNoWriMo”

  1. Anya,

    I signed up for NaNo the other day. I’ve participated twice in the past. The first time, I ended the month with a beautiful gift–a completed novel. It needed polishing, but it had a beginning, middle, and end, and was just over 50K. The second time I participated, no novel. I had about three false starts and called it quits. It was frustrating, but not heart-breaking. I do love all the hype and the emails of encouragement as you go through the process. My recommendation is give it a try.

  2. I’m doing NaNo for the third time this year; you should totally do it. It’s so much fun, all the pressure is mental (well, there can be peer pressure too), and really, there’s nothing to lose (but sleep).

  3. I guess the question is “what’s to be gained by doing NaNo?” — I’ve stopped doing it because I hated what I was producing. I wasn’t able to take those breaks you talk about (I usually lay down to take a nap and let my mind wander around the scene I’m having problems with) and … blech.

    For me, there’s nothing to be gained. I’m under enough stress right now. I don’t need to add more.