This time last year, I remember a professor asking me why I was going to attempt NaNoWriMo again. I told her that it was kind of dumb, but I’d definitely stop next year in 2015, because I’d be abroad. And I wouldn’t want to waste a single second abroad, right?
Cute idea, Em.
Here I am thinking, “Oh, I’m travelling for five days in November! I’ll be able to do NaNo on planes and in adorable hostels!” If there was ever a reason to question my sanity…
Quitting? After five years of having wonNaNo? Lovely thinking. So realistic. I am such a sore loser; until the year I finally grow up a little, I’ll be attempting this challenge. Or the year I lose.
The basic premise behind NaNo, or National Novel Writing Month, is that one writes a novel of at least 50,000 words (approximately 200 pages in the average hardback book) in a month. I bend the rules–I have never completed a novel that hadn’t already been started, I have continued old stories before, and I’ve worked on multiple stories during the month. I hold to the 50k words in November part, and that’s good enough for me.
Why do I do NaNoWriMo?
I hate creative writing. I detest it. It stresses me out and it makes me anxious. If I ever write something I like, I’ll find myself wandering, ‘What happened to that character in that book?’ and then remember that, oh yeah, I still have to finish it. And then I feel angry.
For an indecisive person like me, writing is horrible. I can’t even decide what I want to eat for lunch; how am I supposed to create entire lives for characters that become real people to me?
However, I love to write. I love that feeling when I know I’ve written something I might like. I love knowing I captured an emotion. I love how breathless I feel when I’ve just finished a thousand word sprint and how I’d forgotten for a second that I was writing, and how instead I was just listening to a character tell me a story.
But I don’t write unless someone’s forcing me to. I need someone to push me. I’m a sore loser, so if I have someone checking up on me, I’ll grump at them, but I’ll write. I need to be held accountable. If I think someone cares, it’s easier. (Also, then I can ask this person if my character’s shirt is red or blue. Because I can’t decide those things.)
This year I feel particularly lonely as NaNo approaches, because I haven’t lined up anyone to care.
NaNo also forces me to word vomit. If I were to decide to write a story for funsies (no, NaNo is most definitely not fun) then I’d barely get anywhere as I’d deliberate far too long over every minute decision. The only story I wrote and actually managed to write completely without setting word count goals for myself was in eighth grade.
2013 was going to be the year in which I finally planned a novel. Instead, I got caught up in life. 2014 was going to be the year in which I finally planned a novel. Instead I got ahead with work, turning in a draft of a paper due in December in October. This year was going to be the year in which I finally planned a novel. Now it’s October 28, I’ll be at a conference for the next three days, and I’m freaking out. But I have a title and two character names, and you know, titling and naming is the hardest part of writing, so I’ll be fine. (Ugh, if I decide what tense I’ll write in. Because two of the past three years I’ve wasted time in deciding that I wrote in the wrong tense and thus I must rewrite my first 3k.)
It’s also vaguely frustrating because I want to write a fantastic dystopia, but that requires decisive planning, a knack for details, and a great amount of talent; or a book with a subtle asexual agenda, but I’ve done that (and it needs to be rewritten); or something that deals with mental health, but so many authors have done that so much better than I ever could. As such, I’m kind of wasting my time. But such is life.
So, NaNoWriMo, let’s dance. Year six can’t be any worse than the rest, right?
Please bug me this November and ask me if I’m writing. It helps more than you’ll ever know.