Monday, October 22, 2012

A November Without NaNoWriMo

Even a few weeks ago, I was still deciding whether to take part in National Novel Writing Month. Though I knew I would be insanely busy and had another novel to work on, NaNo still hovered hopefully on the horizon, tempting me with thrilling possibilities. Eventually, sense blocked it out. In light of my need to concentrate on my current novel, I decided to let NaNoWriMo go.

I've participated in NaNoWriMo for four years. The last three, I've won. I also did Camp NaNoWriMo this summer, bringing my completed novel drafts up to 4 (the last two were the same novel, Void.) A lot of my writing energy gets saved up for November, so I can launch myself onto one story and concentrate all my abilities on it. This may not be the best way, but it's the way I usually do it. Spending November doing anything but madly writing around everything else sounds strange to me. That's one attitude that came to mind when my cousin told me last year that she wasn't doing it.

 "NaNo had just become part of the year. In November I'd write a novel. That was a five year streak!" she said.

To which I replied, "I will NaNo until I die from it!"

Right now, I'm not interested in killing myself trying to write a new novel and fix an old one at the same time. Still, I'll miss the breakneck pace, the creativity, the obsessive word count updates. I'll miss knowing that thousands of writers all around the world are striving for the same goal as me.

So, no 50,000-word goal. But I can still give myself writing goals for November. 50,000 words in a month comes out to 1,667 words a day. That's usually about 3 single-spaced pages for me (doesn't sound so scary now, huh?). I can try to revise 3 pages a day. This is a useful, practical goal. Some days I may be able to do a lot more than that, and others it'll be hard to measure due to plot threads that need major doctoring. Some days I may actually end up writing a lot. In any case, this draft should be alpha reader-ready by the end of November.

Those of you doing NaNoWriMo this year, good for you. Go crazy. Sometimes it's the best thing that can happen to you or your novel -- it was for me.

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