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October 27, 2009

With November upon us and so many writers’ blogs heralding perticipation, I feel compelled to doscuss the reasons this blog will not be boasting a NaNoWriMo banner.   I have nothing against National Novel Writing Month.  If I did, I wouldn’t have linked to it above.  I might participate some time in the future, but not this year.

First and foremost, I can’t write that much in a month.  Not at this point in my life, no.  It doesn’t fit the pace of my creation.  It took me a year to write my first novel, which needs to be rewritten from the basement up before it’s remotely serviceable.  Yes, a year for 113,000 or so words.  I thought it was great then.  For years I thought it was great.  I’m still too attached to it to really redo it.  It was the very first thing I ever wrote and it started my path to where I am today.  The memory of my dedication to that novel reminds me that I cannot do NNWM.  I gave up too many things while I wrote that novel…and there wasn’t all that much going on for me at the time.  I’m already behind with mundane classroom work (grading, making out tests, calling parents, etc.), I want to spend more time with my daughter, and I’m far enough behind in household chores that I’d rather just move.  How can I rationalize that big a jump in my word production when it would leave all these things behind?

Second, novels aren’t where I’m at.  I still plan to invade either San Diego or Seattle this summer for six weeks.  Thus, I need to keep woring on short stories for my Clarion and Clarion West applications.  I sure don’t want to be “that guy” who was wait-listed one year and didn’t make it the next.  I have stories to sub, but not a whole lot written since my last application.  Worse, my Naked Man story will likely be too long to submit for either application.  I guess I need to get through it and on to another one.

Third, I don’t really feel like NNWM offers enough incentive to participate.  Oooh, I get to claim I made my target word count (short of true novel length, even for YA).  What else?  I’ve never been much of a word counter anyway.  Some of my most productive days churn out only a few hundred words, but the quality of the words or where the words bring me are infinitely more valuable.  I could type like Jack in The Shining and get 50,000 words. So I may participate some day to be a joiner and create a production goal for myself, currently even the intrinsic rewards aren’t driving me.

So no, I will not be NaNoWriMo-ing in November.  Good luck to those that are.



4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 27, 2009 4:23 am

    It’s not too late! you can still join me! (I’m totally kidding…)

    You could still set a goal or two though 🙂

  2. October 29, 2009 2:10 pm

    I totally get why you’d rather not, in terms of time and incentive. I’m a little worried that this work will conflict with my application story time, and I especially want to submit early this time. That December 1st opening date isn’t going to happen if I’m doing NNWM, unless I happen to finish those pieces this week. But I’m under a freelance deadline there, so nope!

    The other issue you raise is incentive. In spite of the fact that there’s no serious incentive, and the notion that what you write doesn’t necessarily have to be good, I want to do it. To prove something to myself, I guess, and develop better time management habits that prioritize my work. The idea that it doesn’t have to be good takes the pressure off for me, and squelches (a little) the persistent self-editing and criticism that chokes me up and slows me down.

    I realize how bourgie this will sound, but hiring someone to help me tame my clutter and clean, even just ONE time, produced an enormous sense of relief for me. I gotta be happy in my surroundings to work well.

    • osomuerte permalink
      October 29, 2009 8:01 pm

      No need to defend your participation to me. Like I said, I’ll likely participate one November.

      The “doesn’t have to be good” bit doesn’t work for me. If I’m writing every day for a month, I better like it. Doesn’t have to be polished, sure, but I can’t stomach the thought of writing over 5k without some quality checks. Maybe that’s a bad system, but it’s how I work.

      Good luck with NNWM.

  3. October 30, 2009 7:14 am

    No defense, honest! Sorry if I came off that way.

    Writers have different methods and systems, and yours shows that it works. My way isn’t producing a lot of work. What I’ve done, I’m proud of, but the discipline isn’t there.

    Thanks for the good wishes. I’ll keep you posted!

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