Tuesday, November 19, 2013

#NaNoWriMo isn't the enemy -- I am: Why I've never won NaNoWriMo

 I've been participating in NaNoWriMo (which up until last year, I'd been mispronouncing as nan-o-wreeemo) for five years-ish. And I've never won. Well, maybe I've technically won once. During Camp NaNo, I set the goal at 20K words. And that was totally doable by the skin of my teeth.

Here's the thing I've learned about myself all these past NaNos -- I need a plan. For me, writing 50,000 words on the fly is gut-wrenching horrendous because I have no idea where I'm going. Every word is a struggle because I feel like I'm just spinning around in circles and yet, I've made a commitment. I need to finish these 50K words because I signed up for NaNo and I'm part of a community, dammit.

The other thing I've learned all these years is that I love NaNo. I love signing up. I love meeting fellow NaNo buddies and participating in write-ins. I love the race against time and the promise of a brand new work. I love being part of the community. Writing can be such a lonely business. Being apart of NaNo makes it so much less lonely.

And yet, for me it's an incredible struggle. I've never come into NaNo with a plan, and by plan, I mean a detailed scene list because that's how I like to work. It's not NaNo's fault I've never won. It's my own. I should've spent October outlining, but November has this crazy way of sneaking up on me.

This November, I am out of the NaNo game. I'm working on edits on my debut novel and I'm writing my second book (with my scene list) at a pace that works for me. So, perhaps this is my breakup letter to NaNo. It's been a fun five years, but I've got to move on. No regrets. I've learned so much about my writer self from you. So, thank you.

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  1. I'm in the same boat - I signed up to NaNo, but expected an email from my publishers within a few days about edits on my second novel, so I knew I wouldn't be able to dedicate all my time to it! I've been working on a draft, but at my own pace - I can't work without an outline either! I do love NaNo, and the wonderful community of writers I've met through it, so it isn't a total loss. Great post!

  2. I enjoy all the hype that comes w/Nano- the website, the store, the blog posts- but I don't think I'll ever participate. I go at my own pace, albeit slowly. =) But then again, I guess you never know!