Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

by beneaththesurfaces

Chuck Wendig inspired me to write about my own experiences with NaNoWriMo after his below blog:

For those of you who know nothing about it, which probably is everyone, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) occurs every November.  It is, exactly what it sounds like. Start and finish a novel during the month of November.  I partook in 2011, only to discover what a daunting task that can be.  Granted it is only ten pages a day that would result in a fairly good sized novel—300 pages 90-100k words; but this is a very daunting task, unless you are a professional writer or unemployed.  For the majority of us, this would require a miracle.

I am not saying it isn’t possible to have a day job and complete a novel in a month.  I just can not do it–  or even come close.  At the best of times recently, I can knock out five pages on a work day, forty on a weekend.  Given those parameters, NaNoWriMo this cycle has 21 work days and let’s call it 5 weekends. If you do the math, I could produce 305 pages in that time frame.   The flaw in that thinking is that I would need an ideal thirty day period.  I can’t even manage a good stretch at this point.   Realistically, what I would be able to produce would be somewhere between a quarter and a half of that output.

….and that is the 2013, me. The 2011 version only managed 30 pages.  I was not exactly crushed as an artist, but I was highly discouraged if I was really cut out for this sort of endeavor.  It did sadly take me a little longer to bounce back then I would have desired.

Two years later, I still have not completed a thing. The big difference is, I am no longer discouraged.  I know I have it in me…  and I know that even the anticipated 2016 version of myself probably could not complete a book during the course of one November.

My advise to anyone participating in NaNoWriMo is this; treat it as an experience to learn something about yourself.  Set the goal of completing the novel during the course of a month.  When you get to page 150, with no end in sight come November 30th– walk away knowing that if you plug away, it will be done by the middle part of January.  The success is that you are finally writing now.  It will be finished someday.

…and oh yeah—be sure that you have a plan going where the book and the characters are going before midnight tonight.  That is more then a third of the difficulties you will encounter finishing the book.