To Nano, or Not To Nano

It’s halfway through October, with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a.k.a. November, fast approaching.  My blog has grown stagnant; I wrote the last meaningful post more than eight months ago.  I have become increasingly frustrated with my lack of published fiction, which is due in large part to me not submitting much for publication; you can’t win if you don’t play.

I have never written a novel.  The concept of writing 50,000 words as part of a single story frightens and overwhelms me.  I have a lengthy short story that should probably be expanded into a novel, and I have received a lot of encouragement from people who have read it to do just that.  I know several people who have successfully written full novels during NaNoWriMo, and some of them are just as busy as I am, so I really don’t have much of an excuse.

My wife is also considering participating in NaNoWriMo this year.  She has a great idea for her novel, helped along by a writing retreat she attended over the summer.  Today, a co-worker told me he is going to try to write a novel next month.  This is good, because I think it would be easier to stay on track if I’m sharing goals with someone both at home and at work.  I know there is plenty of support and comaraderie in the online community, but it’s not the same as physically being in the presence of someone doing the same thing I am doing.  (This is why the NaNo community has so many writing get-togethers, I think.)

Participating in NaNoWriMo would require some significant changes in my life.  I would need to add significant structure to my day, something that needs to be done anyway.  I would need to power through the inertia that keeps me from writing.  I would need to compartmentalize the project to keep from being overwhelmed (a big challenge for me.)  I think the thing that frightens me the most (and hence, the thing from which I can learn the most) is that I would need to turn off my inner editor and just write.  When I’m writing fiction, I have a tendency to rewrite as I go, rather than letting the words flow and revising them later.  On a tight schedule where I would need to average nearly 1,700 words per day, I would not have the luxury of editing as I go.  In the process, maybe I would learn that 50,000 words is not as daunting as it sounds.

If I’m not careful, I might talk myself into this.

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