Should I NaNoWriMo or Go?

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Am I the only one who views the looming approach of National Novel Writing Month like a grand piano about to drop from the third story of an apartment building? And there I am (or you are) milling around on the sidewalk below?

Meanwhile, the month of October keeps ticking down. Should I Nanowrimo or go?

Last year, I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, which is the summer version of the event. You can read all about my experience in the posts “Camp NaNoWriMo Procrastinato” and “No Mo’ Camp NaNoWriMo.” After failing to reach my writing goal back then, I was left with the feeling that perhaps summer is not the right time of year to embark on anything more serious than transporting Aunt Edna to Phoenix.

But autumn is a more sober and solemn time of year, what with the trees shedding their leaves, and the sun setting earlier, and the first grade teacher notifying me that my daughter received another conduct report (again! It’s only October!) for talking out of turn. Maybe if I signed up for NaNoWriMo this November, in serious autumn instead of frivolous summer, I’d be able to buckle down and finish this first draft of a novel I’ve been working on for seven years wait, maybe now it’s been eight years? a while.

And I am close to finishing. I’m on the last chapter. In fact, I’m 1,295 words into the last chapter. Of course, I’ve come to think the 249 pages that precede it are just awful, every single one of them, and these last one thousand, two hundred, and ninety five words are the absolute crappiest crap topping on a pile of crap, but still I’m hoping that NaNoWriMo will give me the incentive I need to finally (finally!) finish the story.

Or maybe I’ll just let that piano drop and flatten me right there on the sidewalk.

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month. There. Are you happy now, NaNoWriMo?

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25 thoughts on “Should I NaNoWriMo or Go?

  1. barbtaub says:

    No, no! Don’t do either. NaNo is all about getting the new ideas onto the page. A draft, bloody and raw. I tried last year, but had to give up at 37K words because of a death in the family. It’s taken the rest of the year to finish that book, but I’m still amazed at how little editing I actually did on the pages I wrote while in the NaNo zone.

    So this year I’m giving it another try with a new book in a new (to me) genre.

    I could use a writing partner though. Any interest?

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      • barbtaub says:

        My husband is devoted to paragliding, so we’re always trotting around the globe looking for mountains for him to hop off of. I’m thinking of a who-done-it where the victim is a paraglider pilot. (If nothing else, I can start writing off some of those trips!)

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  2. Dylan Hearn says:

    Do you already have an idea in mind? Have you got a structure planned (rough or otherwise)? Do you have the time? Do you really want to do it? If the answer to any of these is no, then I’d suggest you don’t take part. NaNoWriMo is a great way to help produce a first draft (or at least part of one) but most of the people I know who have taken part and failed have pointed to the fact they’ve tried to “Pants” it and ended p producing an irretrievable mess.

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        • Karen says:

          As a writer, I try to slog through to the bitter end, figuring I will go back and fix it all later. I often leave notes like “ADD SOMETHING FUNNY HERE” in the margins (that’s absolutely true) and just push on.

          I think I need the deadline of NaNoWriMo.

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          • Dylan Hearn says:

            I’m the same as you. I decided halfway through the first draft of my first book to merge two characters into one, so carried on writing from that point as if they were one and fixed it in the edit.
            I think you might be right on the deadline. Eight years is too long for a novel. If you can’t write it in s year, you should question whether you’re truly commited to the idea or not.

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  3. Ellen Hawley says:

    Somebody wrote to me recently that she’d decided to think of it as Nopevember, as in she’s not going to do it. I’m not either. I’m just about coming unglued as it is, trying to keep up with the various strands of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen says:

      Hah! My life isn’t chaotic enough, I guess 🙂

      I absolutely thrive on deadlines (I once introduced myself as a person who is at my best when I’m under pressure, and I think that’s probably true) and there’s nothing like a (metaphoric) gun to your head to get you motivated.

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  4. Belladonna Took says:

    I’m doing NaNo for the first time this year. Have a book that’s been sitting waiting for a major overhaul for YEARS … and no, I’m not going to do that one. I’m going to bash out the first draft of something completely new, irredeemably fluffy, and I hope fun. The big challenge for me will be just plowing forward and not obsessively going back to edit whatever I’ve already written (yes, from page one, every time I sit down to write) before adding anything new. Really hoping the one month deadline helps me do that. If you want a buddy, I’m signed up as BTook …:)

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  5. Elyse says:

    Having tried last year and announced it to everyone I know, I’d recommend the piano. November has enough hassles — family (my husband’s not mine) and holidays.

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  6. Harini says:

    Hey Karen. I read your latest Post…….and I so love your droll humour. As for the name of your Blog…..it is so intriguing……it leads us by our noses to read your Posts……Great stuff……..

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