To NaNo or not to NaNo, that is the question.
It’s something on the minds and lips of many a writer from now until the waning hours of October: 30 days, 50,000 words, a lot of sleepless nights, buckets of coffee, and a fair amount of hair-pulling.
Do you join in NaNo or no? Well, do you punk? [said in my best Dirty Harry voice, which is to say, it’s pretty bad.]
There’s lots to consider when contemplating NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. I’ve thought about it, and then promptly talked myself out of it, each and every year for about the past decade. The talking out of usually comes from this small, nagging version of myself that lives in my head. She says things like, “so you’re just going to give up on the other story you’re in the middle of?” or when she’s feeling particularly bitchy, “you’re already an insomniac, why not?”
On one hand, there’s the self induced pressure to catapult yourself past the point of a sane writing pace. (That’s an average 1,667 words per day, in case you hadn’t yet calculated it.) While pounding out 50,000 words in order to make up enough somewhat coherent sentences to make up paragraphs to make up pages and chapters and an entire NOVEL in just thirty days isn’t unheard of, being able to stifle your inner editor long enough to get them out is damn near impossible, especially when you have other commitments. Like you know, a job. Or eating.
On the other hand…I could use a little self-guided push to finish my current project. But then, that’s not really the point of NaNo — working on something already started — is it? I suppose one could make it whatever one wanted. The whole concept is pretty much built on the honor system anyway. Right? If I really knuckled down though, could I conceivably finish my current project in time to start my next one on November 1st? I expect my recent endeavor to end up somewhere around 70,000 words, and right now I’m sitting at just under 30,000. So that would be more like completing two NaNo months back to back! That feels like so much more than I can handle.
The problem for me as I see it: I’m a word nerd. Even in a first draft I deliberate and tweek word choice and sentence structure out of habit. I can’t help it, it’s just who I am. I’ve sort of come to accept, even expect it over the years. It’s part of the reason I’m so meticulously slow at producing a near-finished product. And I say ‘near’ because I’ve yet to get to the final editing and beta reading stages on my project before last.
Still, there’s nothing to lose if I try and don’t make it to the finish line. Sure, there’s something akin to a virtual gold star at the end, but will that be enough to drive me, or just an excuse if I fall short?
So I’m found asking myself once again, just as I have for the past several years, do I do it or not?
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Delaney Croft is an author of urban fantasy and speculative fiction. Occasionally she dabbles in other random stuff. Find her on: Faceboook~@authordelaneycroft
Email ~ email@example.com