NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. Participants in the event strive to write a 50k word novel during the month of November.
Last year, I chose to participate in NaNoWriMo, and to my own surprise, I managed to complete the task! (Huge kudos to Bre, without whom I would never have started NaNoWriMo, let alone managed to actually finish).
I am incredibly (INCREDIBLY) proud of having done NaNoWriMo last year, and I feel that it strengthened me as a writer in ways that I still don’t fully comprehend. I am a huge proponent of the event, and encourage all writers (and especially new writers, who have yet to complete a novel manuscript) to participate.
I haven’t decided yet if I will participate this year. It’s not that I don’t think I’d get anything out of it (or, heaven forbid, that I think I’m too good for it), it’s just that I don’t know if I can.
My biggest problem is I’m not sure if I’m making excuses or listing off reasons.
Reasons (or Excuses) Not to Do It
NaNoWriMo takes a HUGE time commitment. If I choose to do it, I will have to put on hold all of my current writing projects, which include Choose, Blue Moon, Song of Binding, Saucy Wenches, Cipher, and others.
Saucy Wenches may be put on hold regardless, as Bre may take up the mantle of NaNoWriMo author again this year.
It’s a lot of work. Seriously. Time is one thing, but work is another. I finished barely under the wire last year, and it truly was mentally exhausting. I didn’t write anything at all in December because I needed to relax.
Reasons TO Do It
It’s not like I have a paid writing commitment that I would otherwise be dropping. Contracted authors have a lot of reasons to avoid something like NaNoWriMo – if they work on THAT, they can’t work on their paid manuscript. While I consider Choose and Blue Moon to be promises, they are not paid promises, nor do I think the readers of them would kick up much fuss if I had to put them on hold for a month (readers – feel free to disagree with me, here).
There’s still a lot I can learn about motivation and just flat out getting the blasted thing DONE from NaNoWriMo.
I might end up with a manuscript that I can edit well enough to be a really real book. This can’t be over-inflated as an option, because the point of NaNoWriMo is NOT to develop a publishable novel. In point of fact, even though I “won” NaNoWriMo last year, none of the things I gained included “a publishable manuscript.”
Also, some of my friends are doing it, and I’d feel like a total lamer for encouraging them to do it without doing it myself (not a very noble motivation, but NaNoWriMo encourages shame as a motivator).
On The Fence
So…I haven’t decided yet what I’ll do. If you have any suggestions for or against, I’d be happy to hear them in the comments (especially if you’re a Blue Moon or Choose reader, since you’d be directly affected by the decision).
I definitely can’t go into it without being certain. It’s a time and effort commitment, and it’s not the kind of thing that can be done half-assed.