NaNo

NaNo is in the air.

It’s also in my email, my Facebook newsfeed, and all over Twitter. Instagram—yup. Everywhere.

For those who don’t know, this is the gist of NaNoWriMo: For the month of November, thou shalt write every day until you reach the magic number of 50,000 words. It actually works out to 1667/day, which seems like a reachable goal, yes?

For most people, maybe. For me, not so much.

The first time I attempted NaNo I had no computer so I started off writing on yellow legal pads. I want to say this was somewhere around 2005 and I wanted to prove I was more than a flash fiction or short story writer, although there’s nothing wrong with being either. Or both.

I think I got up to about 25k and punked out. After a few months of useless editing, I burned those yellow legal pads lest someone actually SEE them and know I wrote that shit. Every error known to literature I committed in that ‘script. *shudder*

Editing cannot save every story and it certainly couldn’t save that one. And after failing so spectacularly, it was a couple of years before I tried again.

This time, I was armed with a Sony Vaio. Man, I loved that thing. It was a tank. I put out so many words on that machine it was insane. Hundreds of articles, thousands of words, whoa. I eventually wrote Athena’s Promise on it in about eight weeks. But it was like a cork was pounded into each and every finger when it came to typing out 1667 a day for the month of November. WTF? Blergh.

Better than the last one, but only 10,000 words this time before I conceded defeat. Shit happens. It was still 10k more than what I started with. But with my crazy schedule I just could not make it work.

So, in the end, I don’t think I fit with NaNo or that NaNo fits with me. And that’s okay. I do envy a tiny bit the camaraderie and the fun activities, but I’ll just cheer on the writers for whom this platform works. I don’t think I’m the only one out here for whatever reason chooses not to participate in NaNo, but it is fun to give it a try to see if it works for you. If it does, that’s great! If not, that’s great too, because believe it or not, I learned a lot from my mistakes. Especially with the first book. Wow. I kind of got that word vomit out of the way so that’s a good thing. I might try it again at some point, although it won’t be this year.

What about you? Are you doing NaNo or taking a pass?

One thought on “NaNo”

  1. Been doing NaNo since 97, and mostly successful (8/9 finished drafts). Since I’m a pantser who resists much more than a crayon outline on a napkin, I need a really strong story idea with interesting world and implications and a character or two. Detailed outline/character prep strangled my muse into a smear of coke and cheese grease. Trying to write longhand in the hospital didn’t help as it had been too long.

    Nano now is more like a booster shot to boost my focus on a single project. Usually I have 2-3 active projects, that swap due to deadlines, but a lot of distraction creeps in. The high output and accountable deadline helps motivate me to prune away rec activity. By summer I’m doing good if I hit two hours on productive writing tasks.

    Right now I’m using Camp NaNo with a 45 hour revision deadline for this month. Some years the laser focus breaks blocks on other projects and I have about 2k output on other projects each days. One year was a frenzy, but at minimum I get a lot put out and recharge my focus before the holiday slwodown. I don’t do the public events in libraries or starbucks, just a little low key comparison with a handful of writer friends by the numbers. It’s a meta took, especially since Creatspace dropped the best of the prezzies in the winner’s package. Most are for tools and services discounts.

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