For those of you unfamiliar with NaNo, November is National Novel Writing Month, and NaNo is a challenge to authors to write 50,000 words in one month. This boils down to just under 1700 words each day, but for most real people, works out to many more words per day they write, because very few people I know (if any) write EVERY day on the same project.
Like most NaNoers, I slumped in the middle. A nasty cold got a hold of me and obliterated my plans for getting up at 5 am to write every day. Or maybe the cold was just an excuse. While there are things I did genuinely like about working in the quiet of the predawn hours and starting my day off with some creativity, I am, by nature, a night owl, so I probably only got up at 5 for about two weeks total.
I may get back to the getting up at 5 routine after the holidays, but not every day. Likely every other day. But I don't think I will tackle NaNo again, and here's why:
- November is a gruesome month to try to write like crazy. We have performers in my house, and November typically begins the craziness of holiday rehearsals. It's just too dang busy to be pouring every spare minute into writing top speed.
- I don't have a problem being prolific. I can see NaNo as a huge benefit to writers who struggle to make progress on their projects, and it's likely very rewarding to see the word count pile up. I did gain some gratification from making headway into my work, but...
- Writing without revision does not fit my creative process. Under normal circumstances, I write a passage, let it sit overnight, come back to it, read it, tweak it, and write the next passage. Doing so helps me avoid continuity errors and repetition. The 50,000 words I cranked out in NaNo have some nuggets of good stuff, but because I only outline in the loosest interpretation on the word, I need to have a very solid grip on what poured out in the last writing session before I plow forward into the next. I am going to be getting this draft off to my crit partner, with the understanding it is a ROUGH draft, but I don't like working this way. I don't want to waste my crit partner's precious time in asking her to read and comment on stuff I know isn't really written to the best of what I think I can do without input.
So am I glad I did NaNo? Sure? Will I do it again? Probably not. But what I will do is challenge myself to set aggressive word count goals year 'round. After all, the folks waiting on the next Windrider book and the next installment of the Risen Age Archive deserve that.