On Writing

To NaNo…That is the answer

I read this very interesting blog post today about a writer’s choice to not participate in NaNoWriMo this year. Have a read here.

What is NaNoWriMo? It’s a short form for National Novel Writing Month, which happens across the globe (for reals) every November.

One of my students told me about it a few years ago, and after I asked her three times what the ‘h’ she was saying, I checked out the site and promised  myself that I’d participate in this crazy event sooner or later.

Sooner turned out to be the culprit. I participated in NaNoWriMo last November 2011. Read about my ‘success’ here.

It was truly a page-turning event in my writing career. I wrote almost every day. Dedicatedly. With acute discipline and honesty. And I blogged all about it (see NaNoWriMo 2011 posts in my ‘tags’ section) as much as possible. I ended up writing over 50,000 words in the month of November, and nearly finishing my first Young Adult novel. I say nearly because even though I hit the 50,000 word target for the month, my novel was far from over. (It actually came in over 90,000 words in first draft. Yowza.)

And so, it’s been a year. Holy balls, I say. Holy balls. What to do this year? With my YA novel manuscript complete and about to be entered into the Baker’s Dozen competition so long as I get my stuff in on time and make the cut (and have a chance at landing an agent) – I certainly wouldn’t be able to do this without having done NaNoWriMo last year.

Do I have a story idea ready to go? Yes.

Do I have an outline to follow? Why, yes.

Do I feel the same this year as I did last year? Um…I can’t say that I do. I was excited about participating and unsure as to whether or not I could accomplish the task of writing 50,000 words in one month. I was relentless when it came to my writing. I’ve been relentless ever since, giving every second (literally) to finishing my novel, editing it, having it edited, making these changes, all to hit another November deadline for the Baker’s Dozen competition.

This year, I know I can do it. And I know what it will take to get me there. To 50,000 words in one month. And I feel less like I can do it this year than I did not knowing if I could last year. Does that make sense?

I know what it will take. And the knowing is daunting. And overwhelming. And exhausting even before I’ve begun.

But…(I like big buts and I cannot lie…) I know I can do it. And I’ll do my best. And if I succeed, then YAY! And if I don’t, then I’ll at least have that many more words in my new novel than I would have had otherwise.

Why did I begin this post with a post about not doing NaNoWriMo? Just to give you some perspective if you were wondering whether or not try it out or do it again.

I know it’s pressure. I know it’s deadline driving-me-mad. But I still wanna do it.

Will you?

2 thoughts on “To NaNo…That is the answer

  1. I discovered NaNo a few years ago. I can honestly say that there few things are as intimidating to me as the challenge of 50,000 words! But who knows, maybe this will be the year? 🙂


    1. Thanks, Mark! Yeah…it was totally intimidating…still is, but I find the ‘situation’ and challenge works for me! Good luck!


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