Skip to content

cautionnanoFor many people, mention 'November' and their faces light up with thoughts of juicy turkey dinners, splurge desserts, warm toddies by the fireplace, football, family, falling leaves, and many other sensory delights.  But if you get a reaction more similar to PTSD, or having been tasered, that person is probably a writer.

November is known to many aspiring as well as established writers for its 50,000 word National Novel Writing Month challenge, or NaNoWriMo.  If 50,000 words sounds like a lot to you, but you're thinking it must be a snap for writers, think again. It's the writing equivalent of a marathon. It takes preparation and skill, and a lot of folks who start, don't finish.

I've done NaNo several times. I've completed, or 'won', as they say, more often than not. I have a hard time equating the dumpster fire manuscript I've created with 'winning'. I prefer the term 'survived'.

As with marathons, one wonders: if it's so unpleasant, why do it? For similar reasons, I suppose. I like a challenge. I do it to improve my skills. And even if my project is light years from being ready for publication, it's a great 50,000 word start.

Every year, I swear I will plan better before the start. I haven't done very well with that. Massive procrastinator, massive pantser. Funny how those things tend to go together! But I've taken a run at an outline this year. I will be drafting the third book in a trilogy, so I have a better idea of story, characters, and so forth, than I usually do. I'm actually looking forward to getting started.

Many participants claw their way to December 1, gasping for a break, and end up not writing anything else for months. Totally understandable. I guess since I've survived NaNo so many times, I've grown some writing scar tissue. I no longer feel the need to take a big break. Although it is outstanding to not compulsively check word counts every five minutes once December rolls around! I plan on spending December and January editing the three books. I want to have the first book self-published by my birthday, which is the end of February. That will be my gift to myself.  It's a little ambitious to get them edited that quickly. And I will also need some cover art. But that's the plan.

Anyone else out there crazy enough to try NaNo this year? My NaNo user name is DoFo. Look me up and add me as a Buddy, and I'll do the same. Misery loves company.