On not NaNo-ing

People are gearing up for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) once again — the annual challenge to write 50,000 words of fiction in the 30 days of November. (I did a Q&A about it a few years ago.) The local Municipal Liaison (the splendiferous Nicki!) has plot-ins going for people to get their ducks (or albino weasels) in order, e-mails are going out, posts are up on the Forward Motion for Writers forum.

Clearly, it’s October.

And this year, I’m not participating. It’s not a recent decision; I told Nicki months ago. I’ve been feeling burned out at participation, which I tried to short-circuit last year by doing a goofy, make-it-up-as-I-go-along fanfic of my fellow WriMos. I only wrote two episodes and started a third. I need the break.

I’m not sure why. Writing under 2k a day isn’t a major challenge. Coming up with new ideas and even outlining them ahead of time isn’t a problem. The local WriMos are wonderful people, and November is often my most social month of the year because of it.

And yet.

Maybe it’s because it’s not a challenge now? I’ve done it, I know I can do it, and it doesn’t have much new to offer me? The need to meet one more deadline is one stress too many? I don’t know.

I don’t even know how long this break is going to be. It might be just this year. It might be two years. It might be permanent. I just don’t know.

What I do know is that I will be cheering 100% for anyone who’s doing it. I’ll be going to at least one write-in. And I will always be happy about having done NaNo and learned where and how I can push my limits.

Are you participating this year? If not, what do you have on tap for November?

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  1. Well said. And I agree – after doing NaNo competitively (against myself and my own limitations) for 10 years, the competition changes. It’s still exciting, and I still love the event – but the thrill of *finally* writing that novel is gone. It’s routine now, a habit (that I love), and I’m ready to start growing in different directions.

    That doesn’t mean ML-ing will go away any time soon. I can’t imagine my November without it anymore! Neither can anyone else within my world – everyone knows about “that writing thing I do”. But I too have the need to shake things up and change the conversation a bit.

    It’s funny – when Chris Baty stepped down as the head of OLL and NaNoWriMo, I was crushed and felt completely betrayed. But this year, I kind of get it.

    Best of luck to you and your upcoming (significant) stress reduction! I’m glad to hear we’ll see you at at least one write-in – don’t forget you’re welcome at all the events, participant or not!

  2. I totally get what you’re saying. I still plan to do NaNo because it’s an extra novel for me and so useful, but I don’t do it for the challenge, a fact that showed clearly after, I believe, the second or third year when I stopped writing a full-length novel and chose projects that would hit the 50k mark without a heck of a lot of work. As long as it’s useful and fun, I’ll be there, but there may come a year when I’m hanging out with you instead :).

  3. Pingback: On NaNoWriMo, and Change | Off the Beaten Plan

  4. I get it, Erin. I use NaNo to get a book out, I met the challenge the first year I did it. Now it’s about putting words on a page daily, something I don’t always do the other days of the year. Thanks for the cheers along the way.

    • Now it’s about putting words on a page daily, something I don’t always do the other days of the year.

      That makes it a very useful tool in your annual writing goals! And I’m always happy to cheer my friends along. 😀

      For me, I’ve often tended to binge writing, and I don’t think that’s something I’ll ever entirely give up. I’m working, however, at making my baseline a positive number, rather than zero. The binges will no doubt still be impressive, but the quotidian habits will mean more written over time. At least, that’s my hope.

  5. I plan for this year to be my last year for NaNo. It will be ten years. I’ve proven I can write a first draft. Now I need to prove I can revise and get a marketable product. Oddly, I’m more concerned about how I’ll ever finish this year. I’m doing Flash for 100, Please! Yes. 100 pieces of flash fiction, and I have yet to complete even one. This is truly the NaNo for insanity.

    • That is ambitious! I’m slowly accumulating 101 flash pieces that I’ll publish together as a collection, but I wouldn’t try to write them all in one month. Good luck!

      (And good luck getting PBOTL polished and out the door.)

  6. Kind of wish I was, but not sure I can cram it into my schedule. I did try it once, but didn’t “win” in the end… :-/

    • My personal attitude is that if you ended the month with more words than you started with, that’s a win. 🙂

      You could try an unofficial NaNo — go for half the word count or something.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

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