To NaNoWriMo or not? It’s complicated

Everyone know what NaNoWriMo is, don’t they? It’s National Novel Writing Month, held in November every year. The goal is to write a novel in a month. More accurately, it’s to write 50,000 words in a month, which should be a healthy start–two thirds-ish–on the average modern adult novel.

I’ve done NaNo for the last two years, and I really enjoyed the experience both times. You’re part of a community all madly fighting to get words down. Writing can be such a solitary experience at times that the community aspect of NaNo is huge boost.

I’ve done it both the right way (one project starting at the beginning last year) and the rebel way (multiple shorter projects adding up the word count). Last year’s novel was finished in January, but the 65k I somehow produced during NaNo got me most of the way there.

(My epic procrastination over edits since then are a whole different story. It will go out on query early next year, I promise.)

This year, it’s complicated. I’m in the middle of writing a story for a submission call that closes at the end of the year. It’s probably a novelette. I want to have a full first draft done early, so that I can set it aside for a couple of weeks before I edit, rather than trying to rush everything at the end.

If I do NaNo within the guidelines, I’d have to put the story aside on Sunday and start madly wording. I’m pretty sure that I’ll never made the submission deadline with something I feel good about if I do that.

Another option is to finish the story and then start writing on the novel, and try to cram 50k into what’s left of the month. I’ve got a thing that I can dive into when I get there that’s been itching under my skin for ages

Except it would mean keeping the kind of work-level up that I did last year for 65k in one month, and I’m not sure that I have the spoons to do that. No, wait, I definitely don’t have the spoons. My spoon drawer is smaller than it was last year.

A third option is to do it rebel-style again. Finish the story and start the novel, trying to make sure the total new words across both are over 50k by the end of the month. It’s an option, but I’m worried that my spoon drawer is too small for that, and I wouldn’t feel good to see the fail mark that would probably result.

The last option is to do what I do every month: set a goal for the month and work towards it. My writing group is NaNo-ing, so we’d all be working together, and there’s no reason I can’t go to writing sessions and so forth. But would I have as much fun if my goal isn’t as high as theirs?

Decisions. I’m still hesitating over the “create novel” button on the NaNo site, unable to commit to any option.

Is anyone else having a to do it or not dilemma?

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3 thoughts on “To NaNoWriMo or not? It’s complicated

  1. I say go with the rebel option if you put your hat in. If you are worried about failure, you could until later in the month to sign up. Just keep track of your daily words since you can backdate them into the system now if you need to.

    No matter what you decide you will have fun with us. If your goal is smaller you are still going to have an awesome time, and we will not think any less of you. You are the most prolific of our group, and we know it! Even if for one month you take it a little slower than the rest of us we know you’ll be kicking our word count butts next month and likely the month after too.

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    1. I signed up and I’m being a rebel. I may regret this later, but it does give me a firm goal to aim at.

      You’ve got a good point about my word rate 🙂 The one thing NaNo never needed to teach me was getting words down daily, but it is good to have the freedom to just write and set any other writing related admin aside for a few weeks. I’ll have a little bit of editing to do in a week or so, but hopefully that won’t take too much time away from new words!

      And it is giving me a really good excuse to finally start a novel that I’ve been itching to write.

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