2013 was the year I not only started this blog but also the first year I participated in National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo. Each year since then I’ve participated and won meaning I accomplished the goal of 50,000 words written during the month of November. No small task under normal circumstances and really difficult a couple of years due to coordinating a cross country move and dealing with family matters.
This year, though, I’m not participating. Not for lack of an idea. I’ve got ideas and characters galore, many of which have been nosily rattling around in my head for over a decade. I should probably deal with the backlog at some point. Nor is it because I no longer believe in the idea of NaNoWriMo. I still do and still think it’s a great idea for writers at any stage in their development to try it at least once. It’s a way to work to shake off the wretched gremlins and just accept a crappy rough draft. It’s also great to accept that one doesn’t have to complete the novel in the month of November. Like I mentioned, I’ve used it to start novels and technically last year’s novel isn’t done. I’m not alone in using it as a springboard.
My reason for not participating is I have been focusing the last couple of months on revising a historical fiction book I’ve been working on and off for the past several years. It has a connection to NaNoWriMo because in 2014 I took the opportunity to sit down and start a true rough draft. The first rough draft wound up being well beyond 100,000 words but the first 50,000 to 60,000 words were written during NaNoWriMo 2014. Instead of stressing my brain out with trying to work on something completely new and killing momentum with my current project, I’ve decided to stick with revising my novel.
It is odd not being involved this year. While I’m not participating, I’m still keeping abreast of those in my local writers group who are and have shared on Facebook when my local library is having write-ins. I will miss the rewards you earn on the NaNoWriMo website for earning milestones. I will miss the community which comes together for the month to share frustrations and successes. I will how it encourages me to set up my own rewards both the daily candy, thank you Halloween, and non-food rewards as I each hit target. It’s probably something I should think about whenever I draft a novel regardless of time of year.
So to everyone out there who is participating in NaNoWriMo this year, whether as a veteran or for the first time, good luck and have fun! You will face frustrations and stumbles and staring at walls, but it can be done. Remember, the book doesn’t have to be finished in 50,000 words, just have 50,000 words down by November 30th. Hopefully I’ll be joining you next year in all the nervousness and excitement of a new world.