Blogtober is done, and now it’s time for Nation Novel Writing Month. Most years, I stop posting to my blog and just focus on getting 50,000 words finished before November 30th. I’m not quite ready to do that, yet.
For starters, I’m probably not doing Nano this year. I can’t work on two first drafts at the same time, and I still haven’t quite finished Synthetic Dreams. Would I have finished if I hadn’t written all those blog posts? Maybe, maybe not. I reached the most difficult part of the book during October, and it took me a while to see my way through to the other side.
I’m over the hump and the words are flowing into that story, so I’m going to remain focused on that. If I manage to finish the first draft by November 7th, I will start Nano on November 8th and see if I can do it. I wrote 50,000 words in 19 days last year, and that story was more challenging than the one I’m looking at next.
I will probably also keep posting here daily while the habit is still with me. I think I’m done doling out writing tips for a while. I’ll probably just talk about what’s going on with my writing, the successes, rejections, and prospects that make up my writing life.
Currently, I’m in a hotel room in Los Angeles. I came down for World Fantasy 2019, and it’s been pretty great so far. I’ve met up with several people I only see once or twice a year.
If you’re doing Nano this year, I want to encourage you! Let me know what you’re working on. Share with me your victories so I can sing your praise! Tell me your dilemmas so I can provide appropriate encouragement, even if that’s just being a listening ear.
I’ve seen some people bashing Nanowrimo on Twitter lately, and I get it. The focus on word count is not necessarily healthy, and producing pages and pages of unprintable garbage isn’t doing anyone favors. These are reasonable criticisms.
However, NaNoWriMo for me isn’t just about the word count. For me, it’s an excuse to make writing my top priority for thirty days. It’s also about sharing the experience with the larger writing community, because we are all writers defeating the monster that is the blank page. It’s through NaNoWriMo that I found #WriteFightGIFClub on Twitter, which is still a fantastic online community.
If the word count is stressing you out, let it go. It is just a metric for measuring progress, and since it doesn’t take into consideration the quality of the words being counted, it doesn’t mean that much. If you only write 500 words a day, that’s still incredible, and I celebrate that victory with you. If you write 3000 words a day and it’s all terrible, I also celebrate that victory with you, and I look forward to reading your story once you’ve gone back and taken the time to revise it.
In 2011, after WorldCon in Reno, I decided to take my writing more seriously. Since then, I’ve been doing what I can to make sure that writing is a larger part of my life. I changed jobs, scheduled time, connected with writing communities, and I’ve submitted my work for publication.
NaNoWriMo is usually the one month in the year where I get to pretend I’ve made it, and that I need to write for a purpose. It’s not just a hobby or pastime. I get to pretend that my writing is actually important, and I get to assume a deadline that isn’t just self-imposed.
These are the reasons I enjoy NaNoWriMo. If you are on the fence with participating, you can use my reasons as your own. You have my permission to pretend to be the writer you’ve always wanted to be, even if it’s for only a month.
Good luck, and let the words flow ever in your favor!