Oct 30, 2013

Why I NaNo

It's late in the day (ish) but I told myself I was going to post three times a week, and so, here it is.

I was talking to my CP's the other night about why I was doing NaNoWriMo again. There are several people who are on the fence about it and I thought I'd lay out my reasons.


1. Excitement is contagious. Seriously, as people are cranking out words, gearing up for Friday, talking about the prep they are doing, I can't help but feel that enthusiasm. And that excitement transfers into my writing.

2. It's a concrete goal. I know how many words I need to write in a day, I know my writing buddies are going to see how well or poorly I'm doing, and progress is incredibly measurable.

3. It's the epitome of butt in chair and write. If a passage doesn't come out as poetic as I would like, just keep writing. If a character's dialogue doesn't really sound all the way like them, just keep writing. I can get too hung up on having everything be just so, which stagnates progress immensely. NaNoWriMo gives me permission to dismiss that.

That being said, I will offer this confession.

I've never won.

I have never hit 50k in one month, and usually top out at 36-38k. Part of that is because as much as remembering #3 liberates me, I can't let it go all the way. I still have to write in my way, and as I get to know my characters better (even after extensive outlining), I have to let them tell their story the way it needs to be told, and it slows me down.

But come December 1st, that 30k+ more than I would have ever had if I didn't buy into the program.

Are you in? What can you do that will still allow you to feel the excitement of productivity?



11 comments :

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's the attitude!
I'm a lazy writer. I need the word count to keep me motivated and writing. I also plan my words very carefully. Add my slow typing skills and I do good to hit 350 words per hour. Yeah, my NaNo days are long...
I won NaNo 2010 but just missed the mark for BuNo 2012. But that's all right - both efforts resulted in published books.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm not in because I have too much going on but if I'm every ready to do a new book at this time of year, I would join because the excitement in contagious.

Dana said...

I'm in! I thrive on the excitement of it all. :)

Good luck to all of us!

JeffO said...

I think the real key in this NaNo thing is not whether you win or not, but what you do after. Do you hit 50K and say, "That's it, I'm done" and let it drop, or do you keep working until it's really done? Do you hit 11/30 at 38,000 words and say, "Damn, lost again, oh well," or do you keep plowing on and finish in your own good time?

I am not in because I am revising. I wish you a happy and productive NaNo, and a finished product, however long it takes.

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I think writing more than 30k is very impressive. I've never done NaNoWriMo because the stack of papers I always have to grade and my other book (my dissertation) prevent me from participating. But I WISH I could, especially because I haven't been able to write fiction lately (though I did write several footnotes for my dissertation, sighhhh.)

Susanne Drazic said...

Best wishes with NaNoWriMo!

Miranda Hardy said...

I'm like you, I've never won, but I've popped out a lot of words during that month. I'm not planning on winning again this year, but I do plan to write everyday and try to finish up some projects. Good luck to you!

Julie Luek said...

Sounds like you have the right attitude about using it as motivation to write, regardless of "winning". All the best to you during Nov.

Jess Stork said...

You're making me want to join in again! Except with work and grad school, I'm thinking that I should stick to my faithful word count free early morning writing to stay sane.

Crystal Collier said...

I don't actually NaNo. I just cheer everyone on. My writing is pretty consistent without needing a month of writing insanity to kick my word count up, so I just leave it at that. I love the event though and all the enthusiasm behind it.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I signed up for NaNo but it's not my year. I had to complete edits and that took a third of the month. I'm still working on the project, but I won't meet the goal. Oh, well. It's all good.