Monday, November 4, 2013

Saying Yes to NaNo

Post by Jenny

Ever since National Novel Writing Month blipped onto my radar a few years ago, I’ve had legitimate reasons to forego it: family obligations, other writing projects, closets that need organizing, the fact that November is a short month with a holiday in it…the same list that keeps people everywhere from signing up for yet another commitment. We’re all busy, right? Who needs the pressure of 50,000 words in thirty days with the most hectic time of year right around the corner?

This year, however, the idea of NaNoWriMo grew harder and harder to dismiss, and I eventually realized that I was seriously considering participating. Having said that, I must be truthful. It sounds really hard, and I don’t particularly want to do it. But some part of my mothballed writer brain knows that I must at least try. In 2013, I have reread, revised, edited, blogged, texted, tweeted, and spelled out words with my alphabet soup. I have conferenced and pitched and queried (not as much as I should have on all counts). I have thought a lot about writing, have read about it, have given myself plenty of pep talks. But I have done precious little actual writing.

I need a jump start. I need a kick in the pants. I need a momentum shift that will carry me into 2014 with renewed resolve. So, as of today, October 29, I am an official NaNoWriMo participant.

And I’m freaking out. I’m afraid that I’m not up to the task, physically, emotionally, or creatively. I’m afraid that my idea won’t hold water, and I will be paddling frantically for shore in a week. I’m afraid that something big will come up and demand my time and attention. I’m afraid that a hundred small things will come up and do the same thing. I’m afraid that Walter the wonder puppy will figure out what I'm doing and cook up a plot of his own. I’m afraid that stress eating + Halloween candy + less time for exercise = not being able to button my jeans by Veteran’s Day.

Mostly, I’m afraid I will fail.

I really hate that f-word. But if I do fail, so what? As the NaNo people say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Trying is better than not trying any day. If it helps me get my writing mojo back, it will be worth it, whether I write 5,000 words or 50,000.

When this post goes up on the morning of November 4, I hope I’m going strong. 

Are you a past or present NaNo participant? Any words of wisdom to share?


RichardK said...

Go for it. It may seem hard at first, but the elation you'll feel at hitting that 50,000 word will keep you floating for awhile.

Michelle Mach said...

Having done NaNoWriMo before, I think the key is just hitting your word count. Don't worry about "writing a novel." I ended up with some good character studies, a little good dialogue, a few plot ideas, but nothing that would resemble a finished novel. The biggest gift from NaNoWriMo is that it shows you that you can tackle a huge writing project. Good luck! :)

Patricia Stoltey said...

I did it in 2011 and have that first draft finally ready for submissions. I skipped 2012 due to family obligations, but I'm back on board this year to kick off a new project. It helps gets me going, Jenny. I'm on track with my word count through Sunday. Need to stay off social media though.

Anonymous said...

I've never participated in Nanowrimo, and I don't think I could write a fifty thousand word novel in a month, but I'm sure you and others felt the same way. Good luck.

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