‘Tis the season.
Nanowrimo. Ahh. The word holds such abundant potential. Potential for new novels and new friends, for learning and growing. Potential for ripping out your hair and screaming in frustration. Potential for printing out your progress just for the satisfaction of scattering the pages around and stomping on them in dirty shoes while cursing loudly. Ahh. So exciting.
I think about doing Nanowrimo every year. It seems like such a great idea–sit down, start something new, blast through the month pounding out 1,667 words every day, finish out the month with a novel draft! So great!
Except here’s the thing:
That is my completed 2013 NaNoWriMo draft and related notes. Please note the “Modified On” date on the right. That’s as of October 2016. I blasted through November 2013 pounding out over 1,667 words a day… hit the word goal… stopped. Never touched the draft again.
I am almost afraid to do NaNoWriMo ever again because of that. I hit the word goal. I feel like I should emphasize this, though: I didn’t finish my story. There is still plot to be wrapped up. Characters in the midst of crises. The story is not done. I hit the word goal, that’s it. And I haven’t touched it since. I’m not sure if I burnt myself out, or if I just had a really lousy story idea and didn’t give myself time to realize it until I’d hit my word count goal, or what.
I think for people who don’t write much, Nano is great. It gives them a goal and a reason and motivation. Some people are very goal oriented. Numbers are easily quantifiable goals. Saying “I will write 50,000 words in a month” is much easier to measure than “I am going to write a novel.”
To me, though, it’s much more important to finish a story, even if it takes you two months or six months or a year. So if you ask me, I will be over here writing a novel during nano. It will have a beginning, middle, and end, all of which may not make sense, but it’s a shitty first draft and it doesn’t have to make complete sense. It just has to get done. Nano gives me motivation to start something new. Starting something new isn’t the hard part for me. Finishing it is. And Nanowrimo gives me a false sense of completion before I actually complete my novel. I don’t need that.
So I will be very lax in my participation in Nanowrimo this year, but I’m going to start writing this new novel on November 1. So if I do write 50k words of it in a month, I will get that badge of honor, but I am not setting my sights on 50k in a month. I’m setting my sights on finishing the story in an indeterminate amount of time.