NaNo ’13 – Yes or No?

Crossposted from Live Journal. Yes, I’m lazy.

It’s now approximately six weeks until National Novel Writing Month, and I’m sitting on the fence, still not sure which way to go. At first, it looked as if I’d be skipping it, for the first time in several years. I have more than enough WIPs to keep me busy for a couple of years, at least, and not a single idea for a new novel. Devoting a full month to NaNo also takes a lot of my attention and most of my energy, which means pretty much putting all the other writing projects to the side for a while.

But the imminent arrival of NaNo always seems to get my synapses sparking with new ideas. If it’s possible to have a habit that you only succumb to once a year, then NaNo is a habit and hard to ignore. I’ve made notes, and written a few fragments, over the last few months, for a batch of stories about life in prison, a project that I figured on getting around to sometime next year. But it’s beginning to look as if I might tackle it as a “rebel.” NaNo is officially for novels, but there’s really no rule against writing something else as long you follow all the other rules. Writing a collection of short stories has come to be accepted as a legitimate way of doing NaNo, but this is the first time I’ve had any reason to consider it.

If I do it, I’m not going to push for the 50,000 word goal, just work to get at least a couple of the stories finished and get a good start on the rest. Of course, that’s what I said last year — relax for once, and just do as much as I can without killing myself. I did make the goal, just barely, and I’m still working on that novel, off and on.


9 thoughts on “NaNo ’13 – Yes or No?

  1. I did it last year and won and that’s enough for me. That was my fifth novel, the only one I wrote that fast and it is a total MESS as a result. I have managed to salvage it with a ton of hair-pulling and it’s just not worth it writing that fast for me. I’ll take quality over quantity.

    Though I have to say I’m glad I did it once! Bucket list item kind of thing.

    1. NaNo certainly isn’t for everyone, but you might consider giving it another try and approaching it differently. Preplanning goes a long way. I usually spend months thinking about a novel, making notes, figuring out who my characters are, how I want to structure it, etc. Sitting down and writing it in 30 days wouldn’t even be possible, for me, without all that. Some people can do it, but I’m not a spontaneous writer, a pantser. If I ended up with nothing but a mess at the end of November, I’d probably never look at that novel again. It isn’t worth the time and energy it takes to allow that to happen.

      The only reason I’ve done major rewrites of any of my NaNo novels is that I rethought them. That probably would have happened even without NaNo. Sometimes, the story you wind up telling isn’t the one you started with.

      1. That’s some good advice. I did preplan last time–outlined everything…. just wrote it too fast, I guess. You’re right that sometimes the story just needs rethinking.

        I don’t think NaNo is for me as a regular thing but I definitely get why lots of people do it every year!

        1. 30 days is really a lot of pressure. Some people can write (and think) that fast and do a good job. I’m not one of them. I tend to write lean and fill in later, so all I expect to do during NaNo is get the bare bones in place. I’m also pretty scattered the rest of the year, so NaNo kind of forces me to focus on one thing and get it done.

  2. I’m so glad you started the discussion rolling on NaNoWrMo. I was thinking that rolling it out on October 1st might be starting too early. πŸ˜‰
    Thanks for breaking the ice.

    Planning is always my approach. I have too many books waiting to wing it. I hope you try it again, if you do, don’t forget that you’ve got support no matter your approach.

    1. Never too early. There isn’t too much discussion on the forums yet, but that’s probably because the old hands know that they’ll be wiped soon. Even though I’m not absolutely sure yet that I’ll be doing it, I’m beginning to feel the buzz. I have three solid stories lined up, so far, with several more probables. Nice to know that you’re going to be there.

      1. I have a ton of novels that need rewriting and editing. I started a novel for Camp NaNo and only got to about 20,000. I am still working on it. Part of me thinks I can add 50,000 to the same novel as it could just go on and on. Another part of me LOVES the process of coming up with a new idea, outlining, world building, character developments in October in hopes of making a new novel come to life in November. I love NANO!!!!

        1. My relationship with writing is pretty mixed. Like you, I love working with a new idea, but I sometimes dread the process of carrying it out. Every new book looks like a mountain that I might not be capable of climbing. But once it’s written, editing and revision is a whole new challenge. Watching the original idea develop and go through changes, sometimes drastic changes, can be as big a thrill as coming to the last line of the first draft and being able to say “I did it!”

          Okay, I’m a sucker. I love NaNo, too. It’s responsible for my becoming a novelist, and it helps keep me on the ball by setting up a new challenge every year.

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