Thursday, October 28, 2010

Decisions, Decisions

A week ago, I really considered skipping this year’s Nanowrimo. Teaching was (and is) stressing me out– curse you, mandatory high stakes exams! – and I also didn’t have an ideal project in mind. I’ve been really focused on my YA dystopian, which is currently at 23,000 words. Theoretically I should have more than 50,000 words worth of plot and description left to add, but wild writing flurries are always easier when you’re beginning a fresh story. Unfortunately, my only other option was jumping into one of my half formed story ideas with no planning at all; but even though I’m more of a pantser than a planner, I still like to have something, and some of my concepts don’t even have characters yet. 

I was also apprehensive because I think Nanowrimo serves a very specific purpose, and it might not be the one that I need right now. Last year it was immensely helpful; it forced me to establish a productive routine, it taught me a great deal about writing, and it showed that I am capable of completing a book-length draft, something I had never done before. It really energized and educated me and I’ll be forever grateful. But Nanowrimo – which freely admits that the goal is quantity, not quality – encourages rushed and wordy prose that is a bear to revise later. It also makes writing a stressful, exhausting, deadline-oriented task (which I guess is what happens when you’re under contract, but at least then you’re getting paid). I just didn't want to lose the flow and the feel of my current story by suddenly forcing my way through it.   

Fortunately, I decided to get over myself and just go for it anyway. Ultimately the deciding factor was my husband; I can’t miss out on Nanowrimo when he’s doing it for once! I’m really excited to share the chaos with him. And if I run out of steam or plot on my current project, I can always start the sequel. It’s currently a very murky, amorphous idea in my mind, but so what? Nanowrimo is all about following the insane adventure, and I'm game. 

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go try out that “planning” thing…


  1. I just wish NaNo was in a different month! For school kids, this is a month of assignments and exams. For working people, this is a hectic month before Christmas (both in shopping and regular business). If it was in September or October, it would be easier for people to participate, I think. NaSeWriMo, it would be if it was in September, right? ^.^

  2. Exactly! And when I was explaining it to someone yesterday I remembered that the name actually stands for National Novel Writing Month -- the Nov=November thing is just an added bonus -- which means they wouldn't even have to change the name. I actually found a place to download the snazzy word count widget and thought about having my own NaNoWriMo in January or something, but ultimately I caved to peer pressure. :-D