Although NaNoWriMo has been around for a long time now, and I have been a writer throughout the time it has existed, this is the first year I have participated.
The reasons for it are varied, but mostly it comes down to the fact I write when I am inspired, which is quite often, but I also need some time between projects to let myself recoup a bit.
During the 2017 year (so far!), I have written 3 novels and a non-fiction book. While non-writers out there might think that’s not a lot, believe me, folks, it is a lot of typing, and it sometimes takes as long to edit a book as it does to write it. Occasionally even more.
Also in that time, I have written quite a number of short stories and flash fiction, as well as articles for my websites and hosting radio shows (as well as being a guest on a bunch).
in other words, it takes a lot of time to do this kind of work.
Oh, include in the above books written 2 OTHER books that I did ghostwriting for, and you see how this kind of thing adds up swiftly.
While this year has been a little more productive than some years past, it’s still about the average amount of work I do in any given time period.
So, when NaNoWriMo comes around, I am usually between projects or already deep in the midst of one and would be a little unfair to participate.
This year just happened to coincide with the start of a new novel, “The Eternals Game” and I thought it would be a good chance to give it a go.
While it has been an interesting quest thus far, and I have, in fact, already beaten the challenge, I’ve been asked by a few people if I would do it again, perhaps next year.
My simple answer would be, “Probably not.”
Don’t get me wrong, here. It’s a good program, and has been interesting to do, but there are a few factors I would like to address with it.
The first is that it simply does not fit my style in the best of ways.
See, I am a person who already writes rather prolifically. It’s “what I do.” But the way I do it does not really work that well with the NaNo situation.
I work on a project, but there are some days where I am “not with it” for whatever reason. Maybe I wrote a few chapters the day before and am a little burned out from that particular bit of story, or I need to let it ruminate further before setting to again.
When that happens, I will either take the day off, or will write a short story or flash fiction. Maybe spend the majority of the day marketing or something along those lines.
Second, given the things I do aside from writing, there are some days I simply can’t dedicate to writing.
For instance, if I am going to be hosting a show that day and a particular guest needs a lot of research on my part, I will have to spend a lot of time doing that work before airing live. If I am soloing that day, it’s especially that case.
I’m also a dad and a husband, and there are some days I simply have to take to dedicate myself to them, and will not write that day at all.
The trouble I have with NaNo, personally, is that with those things above, it has the psychological effect of burning me out quickly.
Even if I am dedicating the same amount of writing each day as I would have otherwise, the thought “I HAVE TO WRITE!” is so much a part of it, it becomes a chore instead of a joy.
And that is my whole purpose of writing. It is my joy.
I don’t want to step away from a novel I have written and think to myself, “I dislike this baby.” And that’s what my novels are. They are my brain babies.
Does everyone feel this way about NaNoWriMo? No, there are many who absolutely love it, and I do not begrudge them that at all. In fact, I am glad for them.
The program is a good one, and I am glad it exists to help those who otherwise wouldn’t to write their first (or whatever) novel.
It’s just not for me, I think.
We’ll see how things are come next year. If I am in the mood, I may try again just to see what happens. After all, I always say I’ll try anything twice.
Either way, The Eternals Game is nearly completed. I have about 6 more chapters if I stick to outline to go before it is ready for editing, and I am very happy with how it has come out.
I think you will be too.