Yeah, I said it.
Remember a few weeks ago when I was all like “oh, I’m going to try Nano this year because I still wanna write a book this year and clock’s ticking” and all that? That lasted until exactly until 11/2, when I hadn’t written on 11/1 and I was officially 3400 words behind and I felt panicky and shit because yikes.
Every year this comes up around the end of October. Folks want to do Nano–amateurs and pros alike–and every year I think “maybe” but ultimately I never do it. It’s not that I’m diametrically opposed to Nano. I’m not. I’m envious of the folks who can pull it off. I’m not afraid of falling short of the goal of 50K words. I have no doubt that if I had an actual deadline breathing down my neck–one with paying, professional people on the other side of it–I could put down 50K in a month. I would be mentally and emotionally exhausted and impossible to live with, but I’m completely capable of this feat. It’s not that I’m not disciplined. One does not write nine novels without discipline. So what is it? Why do I skip it every year? Like I said, I’ve thought a lot about it over the years, and I have a few reasons:
–I don’t like arbitrary pressure. Or maybe it’s better to say I don’t like arbitrary peer pressure. I’ve given myself plenty of arbitrary deadlines (write x story by x date, finish x draft by August, etc.) and I’m fairly consistent about meeting them. I don’t like the idea that other people are holding me up to a measuring stick that ultimately doesn’t mean anything. Sure, you wrote 50K words in November. But did you tell a story?
–I respect my process. I like to mull over my work. Revel in it, even. Write a few thousand words. Think about the implications of them for a day or two. Write some more. Get stuck and think about why. I’m not saying folks who do Nano don’t respect their process. I’m saying that for my novel-length work, I’m not a fast writer. It’s not a natural length for me, so it takes a bit more time to get it out. I love the creation process and the act of writing enough to want to enjoy it. (Yes, even though I bitch about first-drafting.)
–Doing Nano doesn’t make me feel like a real writer. Know why? Because I am a real writer. I write most other days of the year. I work on projects and I sell them and I gather rejections for stories and I keep my fingers on the pulse of the industry.
This post came of as a little Nano-bashy, and I swear that wasn’t my intent. There are many valid reasons for writers of all ilk–amateur, pro, hobbyists–to do Nano. Creating something from nothing is incredibly rewarding and I won’t begrudge anyone the privilege and pleasure of doing it. I applaud the folks who can do it. Nanowrimo is just not for me.