Should I Do NaNoWriMo This Year?

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching and with a little less than a week before the start of November, I still have not decided if I should attempt it this year. On the other hand, why shouldn’t I?
50,000 words in one month is a lot considering I usually average 12,000 – 17,000 per month, but I don’t write on weekends (if that would make a difference). Still, breaking that large chunk into manageable daily chunks works out to be just under 1700 words per day. Everyday. Even on weekends. A sizable amount, but not impossible.
Recently someone pointed out to me that Graham Green, and other writers, call it quits for the day when they reach 500 words. We hare being asked to write three times that amount for 30 straight days.
There are a number of reasons I can think of not to participate. I will list them below. But I will also offer a rebuttal for each to try to convince myself to go for this year.
Perhaps your reasons will be the same. Let’s look at them.nanowrimo-logo
1. I’m too busy/no time.
A very good reason and one most can relate to. The demands on our time are great. I still work for a living like most of you. It takes time to commute to and from work, and then there is the job itself. Eight hours plus everyday. Then, of course, is sleep. Eight hours is preferable, but usually happens is six or seven. Then family and friends. You could probably add more to this list dwindling your free/writing time even more. And nobody gives you writing time. You need to take the time: whatever you can get. For those who commute by transit, this could be a good time. I take time during my breaks and when an idea pops up at an inconvenient moment I make a note of it in a small notepad I carry with me at all times.
By doing this, I produce between 300 and, my best day ever, 3900 words per day. Looking over my word count over the past two weeks there are a number of days when I reached 1000 words or more. So is 1700 words a stretch? I suppose not if I grab the time I need to do it.
2. What if I don’t reach my goal of 50,000 words?
This one bothers me because I will feel like I failed. When I say I.m going to do something I make sure I do. What if I only double my best monthly total and write 35,000 instead of 50,000? A couple of days ago I spoke with a friend about this very thing. You know what he said? “It’s not like you’re not writing. If you don’t reach your goal, you’re still writing more than you would have.” Good point. Rather than beat myself up because failed to meet this goal, I should see it as an enhancement to my writing.
This is the last of my writing for the day and my word count is well above 1700 words. It is workable, but can I be consistent?
3. Won’t I write a lot of garbage or nonsense.
Perhaps, but to be realistic writer’s don’t keep everything they write. If I am honest about it, I spend the first while writing material I will discard before anything begins to flow. Even after that there will be chunks to be discarded.
So my logic brings me to this: I write 50,000 words and keep only 10,000, that;s better than zero.
4. No one can write a novel in 30 days.
This is probably true. So why bother trying if its’ not achievable?
The conclusion, again, is you’ll have some. Working with something, no matter how little, is better than working with nothing.I suppose I could expect a very rough first draft or the beginnings of something at least. But a novel? No. 50,000 words is roughly 200 pages, but a good start. Or a Novella? Hadn’t thought about that.

So these have been my issues, with rebuttal, and it appears that this year I will take up the challenge.
There are a couple of project outlines tucked away I could pull out and start, or something new. This I haven’t decided yet.

If you have had similar excuses/reasons for not doing NaNoWriMo this year, set them aside and join me along with thousands more to challenge ourselves. Who knows what wonderful creations will be born or, at least, an embryo of one.

As a side note, because I write with pen and paper anything written during NaNoWriMo will not be transcribing until after November 30. For this reason I am not registering officially in NaNoWriMo. What is interesting is that my estimates word counts are only a little lower than the actual word count and will post the daily count on my Word Count page.

Just one tiny little annoyance. Why does NaNoWriMo have to start and end on a weekend this year?

Happy writing.


About John Van Vliet

Author of the soon to be released "The H'Rhophyan Chronicles", a Fantasy Adventure Serial.
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