To NaNo, or not to NaNo…

20 Sep

NaNoWriMo.  The word alone makes me itch to try it!  

For the unfamiliar: NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is a challenge for writers to write madly throughout the entire month of November, in hopes of meeting a 50,000 word deadline.  For those who are unfamiliar with what 50,000 might mean in terms of effort, it’s a daunting and difficult prospect, though it can be done by the duly diligent. 

I love a challenge.  Plus, I have an idea, one that may not see the light of day for a while, since it’s wholly different from my current work in progress.

The dilemma?  I’m still working on my second draft, steeped in the world I’ve made.  Though I’ve made great progress, I’m just far enough from the end that it would be quite the stretch to finish this draft before November.  I can’t justify abandoning my project mid-draft, nor do I have the desire to do so.  However, maybe it’s precisely the catalyst I need to push through, though I’d never want to sacrifice quality for the sake of a self-imposed deadline¹.

I’m undecided, at this point.  Are any of you guys planning to participate?  Have you done it before, and if so, how did it influence your current writing habits?

¹Funny.  NaNoWriMo itself is a sort of self-imposed deadline, though I see it with a different purpose than everyday writing.  NaNo is a chance to tackle a new project, a chance to stretch your diligence muscle, to challenge your focus, to get words down on the page, to inspire confidence that yes, you can do this, if you just stick with it.  My current project, though, is in need of quality words at the moment, not mere quantity, the very opposite of writing just to get words down on the page.

9 Responses to “To NaNo, or not to NaNo…”

  1. islesam Sunday / 20 September 09 at 11:53 am #

    The impending November deadline is the only thing that has presently got me hesitant about starting any new projects now. I suppose the mentality should be “write write write write write!!” with edits later, but if I get stuck doing two projects at once, it’s basically game over. I’ve got about a month & a half to do prep work & at max another week to figure out what I’m doing.

    I’m excited, though. I’ve wanted to do it since summer 2007, but this is my first year entering. Apparently, my region stays pretty active with their write-ins, so I’m hoping it’ll be enough to help me make it to the end

  2. sistergolden Sunday / 20 September 09 at 12:35 pm #

    Ah, the age-old question!

    I’m at a good place between stories and have already been noodling over my new genre & plot for some time, so the looming start date of NaNo is the perfect inspiration to finish plotting (I’m a plotter, not a pantser) so I’m ready to go.

    If you’re in the middle of a 2nd draft, that’s certainly something you should stay focused on. You should gauge your progress throughout October before committing. If you think the excitement of participating in NaNo may help you finish in time –splendid! If you think you will need a break, then NaNo timing may be perfect. But if not, you should stick it out with your draft or you’ll be disappointed you got distracted.

    Best wishes and good luck on that draft –I sincerely hope you finish in time because NaNo is such a blast!

  3. J.C Sunday / 20 September 09 at 3:53 pm #

    I did Nano in 06, which kicked me back into writing more seriously, I tried and failed in 07 because of exams and skipped last year because I had a baby 27th oct (can you believe some people were saying I should still do it?? lol). I think I will give it a go this year, but similar place to islesam – I’ve just finished a project, can I hold out until november to start the new one? If I do nano this year it will mostly be for the fun of it, but also to get myself back into the habit of writing 1.5k words a day (my prebaby words per day goal). Whether I win or fail is irrelevant, it’s something fun to do and I know it will show me that I CAN still get that many words out!

  4. sherrymeneley Sunday / 20 September 09 at 4:12 pm #

    It’s a NO for me, mostly because I am going to a writer’s conference from Nov 2 – Nov 8 (yes it’s a bit long…). I expect to be exhausted but primed to work on various prospects – so I’m putting my energy into that during November.

  5. Merrilee Sunday / 20 September 09 at 5:29 pm #

    I’m not a fan of Nano, simply because it does tend to force the writer into putting down words at any cost, and the result is often reams of sludge. Not everyone can produce 1,667 quality words a day. If you can, great; if you can’t, and you’re trying to increase your productivity, then you are setting yourself up to fail.

    That said, I set myself a goal of 70k words in 58 days, and I’m on track to finish it. But the difference is that I was at that point in the story where I was ready, and able to produce the words without struggling with the prose.

    You need to be able to switch off the editor entirely, to go hard on a new project with NaNo. Otherwise the two of you just end up fighting over words the whole way.

  6. waggledance Monday / 21 September 09 at 3:35 am #

    I’ve tried and failed three years running … I just run out of steam. But I’m always up for a challenge so maybe this year…and if it’s all sludge at the end of November, never mind!

  7. Laura Best Monday / 21 September 09 at 5:26 am #

    Have actually never considered it. With my work schedule I know I’d never meet the deadline and I don’t want to begin something I know I won’t be able to finish. Best of luck to you if you decide to take part!!!

  8. joyofdawn Monday / 21 September 09 at 10:40 pm #

    Sounds neat! I never heard about this before. If I try it I might actually get some writing done!
    I have an idea in my head that I want to write down but I don’t think it would turn out to be anything that big, I’d have to try it on one of my other ideas. Hummmm….


  1. I Need to Write Like Me. « Owl and Sparrow - Thursday / 12 November 09

    […] you know I was on the fence a couple of times about starting NaNo in the first place.  First, I questioned whether NaNo was worth sacrificing my November, sacrificing thirty days of work on my beloved work-in-progress.  Then, I had doubts and fears […]

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