To NaNo or Not to NaNo . . .

As November first approaches, I find myself locked in the same internal debate I’ve been going through for the last five? six? years in a row. Should I or should I not participate in the National Novel Writing Month this year.

I remember when I first heard about NaNo. It seemed like a fun idea, even more so when I talked a friend into doing it with me. My story finished up at just over 30,000 words, which is a little more than halfway finished. My friend was able to complete the challenge and yes, I was happy for her ‘cause we writers are like that. :-)

The next year I was all ready to go. I had an interesting idea, a title, and then . . . nothing. The story just wouldn’t make the transition from my head to my keyboard. To me this means it wasn’t ready to write yet. Maybe some day, but year two was not that day.

As they say, the third time’s the charm. I was a little slow out of the gate on year three, but I had a solid idea, a title, and even created my own cover. I wrote steadily and by the end of the month I had surpassed the 50,000 word goal. As a reward, I treated myself to an official NaNoWriMo author’s travel cup.

I had been planning all along to do year four, but when the month of October rolled round all my creativity seemed to dry right up. I didn’t write anything for two weeks. Then, on Saturday, November 1, I was suddenly struck by a name. And following the name was a full blown story revolving around this name. I was off and running and again, I surpassed the 50,000 word goal. This year’s reward was a NaNoWriMo t-shirt.

Then came year five, which was last year. I had come across a box with hand written drafts of the very first novel I’d ever written. It was pretty much straight science fiction. The writing was somewhat laughable, and a lot of the story was ludicrous, but the underlying story was good. I decided to start from scratch, keeping only the basic outline. However, the week before NaNo I got a SNI (shiny new idea) pestering me. While it was technically a romance, it was much darker than I usually go and there was a bit of murder and mayhem in it as well. It just wouldn’t leave me alone so that’s the one I started with. I say started, because by the end of week 1 I realized this was not a novel that could be rushed through NaNo. I needed to take a little more time with it. So I went back to my original plan and I still managed to reach 50,000 words by the end of November. My reward this time was a NaNo hoodie. :-)

So now here I am, with NaNo fast approaching and I’m having that same old debate, should I go for it or not? On the one hand, I have a lot of stuff on the go and I really don’t know if I have time for NaNo. On the other hand, the whole spirit of NaNo is infections and there’s nothing like the sense of accomplishment when you cross that finish line. On the other hand . . . wait! That’s too many hands. But what if I don’t complete the challenge. Then people would point and laugh and call me loser. But I’ve done it before, which shouldn’t I do it again?

And if I do, which idea should I use? I have some ideas for the next in my Elemental series and it would be nice to get it done before I start serializing it on my blog. However, there’s also another idea that, while not new, has started bugging the crap out of me. It’s a science fiction, somewhat erotic romance and I have a lot of it worked out in my head already. Of course that’s not to say I won’t get slammed in the back of the head by a SNI with the force of a two-by-four. One thing’s for sure, I’m never lacking in ideas.

And so it goes. And so it shall go until November 1, whereupon I shall debate myself into a standstill and make the decision once and for all.

Oh, and in case you’re new, or have been living under a rock, here’s a link so you can find out all about NaNo and sign up yourself. ;-) National Novel Writing Month.


Southpaw said...

Wow, I'm impressed by your successes. I'm struggling with the NaNo decision myself. I haven't done it yet, so we'll see.

Jamie (Mithril Wisdom) said...

Congrats on the NaNo success :D That's awesome stuff! I'm so very very torn about NaNo this year. I only managed 10000 words last year before I tapped out, and if I enter this year it will mean stopping all reading and blogging obligations to do it. I just don't know ...

Steven Chapman said...

Go for it, Carol! The only thing I debate during the run up to NaNo is which SNI to use. The best thing about NaNo is there is no way to lose, any words written during November are a bonus…unless of course the challenge dries your mind and forces you to sit babbling into blank pages for 30 days, snivelling about no ideas and lack of motivation – in that case then I suppose it could be a hindrance…but that’s not going to happen! Like you said when a NaNo idea kills your writing dead you can always jump on to another idea and race to the finish line…and if that idea stops you writing, well just lather, rinse, and repeat.

Who knows, you may end up with the first 10k to five different stories!

Hopefully I’ll see you at the NaNo starting line this year!

I suppose the most important thing to consider whilst deciding to take part in the challenge or not is…can you afford another visit to the NaNo shop when you win?

C R Ward said...

LOL I forgot to mention that last year, when I changed stories after the first week I started my word count over and still managed to reach the finish line.

I suspect I'll be participating this year as well. There's just something about the whole NaNo atmosphere that's infectious.