Why Didn’t I Participate in NaNoWriMo?

 In Let's Chat, Uncategorized, Writing

National Novel Writing Month. So what’s not to like about a month devoted to writing a novel . . . in a month? In a way, it gives honor to the people that slog away at the keyboard every day bringing the wonder and escape of fictional stories to our world. It’s also a testimony to the imaginations of all who love story and want to share theirs. And it gives a chance for those who want to try writing, to find support, and immerse themselves in an intense exercise.

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Why didn’t I participate in NaNoWriMo? I wanted to. I really thought I would. I had my schedule planned, so that I would be ready to rush madly into writing the rough draft of my next novel. I’d hoped to have one novel done and off to my editor and have planning and preparation in place to start the next one.

Instead, I had just finished my manuscript, right on deadline, at the end of October. As I’m used
to writing more slowly, I found myself rather burned out on and having just a couple of days to prepare for NaNoWriMo. Change of plans—I would do things like clean my house and re-connect with friends during November, because then comes December and Christmas and everything else which comes with the holidays. November was a time to get re-organized, re-energized and ready to write again.

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Every year I’ve watched NaNoWriMo come and go. The timing never seems to be right for me. I even signed up one year, but I was in the middle of a novel and wasn’t sure how that worked if you’re supposed to write a whole 50,000 word novel in a month. That’s where the perfectionistic rule follower which dwells within rears its ugly head and I quietly quit. And it’s also probably the reason I didn’t participate this year. I knew I didn’t have things ready to go and that I wouldn’t want to stay that disciplined all month, so I wouldn’t “win” the challenge.

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But is it okay to have a goal and not make it? After all, I’ve been part of writing challenges before through American Christian Fiction Writers. I know I can write more than 50,000 words in a month, because I have, so to whom do I need to prove this?

I admire people who are willing to commit themselves to the discipline of writing a whole novel in a month. Perhaps I will get there someday. I’m not ready to put myself under that pressure just to say, “I did it.” But perhaps eventually I will make this challenge a priority, a challenge that is bigger than just myself and my goals and about encouraging many people to write, whether or not they make the ultimate goal.

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What about you—have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? Why? Or why not? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of your choice of Rumors and Promises or Christmas Treasures, an anthology of sweet Christmas stories. Please enter by 12/19/16. Thank you!

Congratulations to everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo this year and especially if you made it to your goal!

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