October is NaNoPreMo

the NaNoWriMo logo

NaNoWriMo is only a month away so it’s time to think about readying for the literary frenzy. I’m going to be posting here throughout October about my preparation for writing in November, but I wanted to start by talking about what NaNoWriMo means to me and why this might be my last one.

I’ve said it before, but NaNoWriMo got me writing again. I used to write fiction when I lived in Nottingham, but the move I made in the early 90s to the south east of England completely killed my writing. I tried picking it back up again a couple of times over the years, but it was not until 2004’s NaNoWriMo that I started writing with any kind of consistency again. And I got to actually finish stories, which had been a problem for me. That will always make me indebted to NaNoWriMo.

Part of my preparation for the event is to buy a T shirt, and to donate some money: I have and wear all of the T shirts for the years I have participated, and making a donation gives me the halo on the NaNoWriMo web site while also coincidentally helping to keep the organisation going.

This year will be my tenth effort, and I fully intend to win for the tenth time. The literary frenzy is hugely productive for me – I often write more words in a month than I do in the rest of the year – but it’s also disruptive. December can easily be a howling waste of wordless exhaustion.

Which brings me to why this might be my last one.

NaNoWriMo got me writing, but my focus over the last year has been to establish a regular writing practice. NaNoWriMo introduces new energy, but at the cost of disrupt regular writing after the event. That’s expensive.

The other problem is one of novelty. I’ve got two live novels in preparation at the moment (although I will readily concede that I don’t know what to do with one of them), and I feel like I need to write something new for November. That militates against keeping going on the existing work, and although this speaks more to my lack of discipline than a problem with the event per se (I’ve worked on existing manuscripts before – I don’t have an issue with being a NaNoRebel) there is still strong peer pressure to generate a fresh story.

And so, as much as I love NaNoWriMo, this might be the last year that I participate in full.
That means I want to make it a good one.

My October posts are going to cover different aspects of the preparation that I am going to make to write the new work. There will be a post each Monday on a topic, as follows:

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? How are you getting ready for it?

4 Replies to “October is NaNoPreMo”

  1. I’ve never done NaNoWriMo and never particularly wanted to (I talked about that on my blog a while back: http://u-town.com/collins/?p=1357). There are two basic reasons. One is that I’m working on a project already, and I don’t see the logic in stopping the project I want to work on in order to work on something else. The other is that I don’t think it’s possible, with other obligations, for me to write that much in a month, and why make myself unhappy by setting up a goal that I won’t be able to achieve?

    Oh, I guess there’s a third reason. I’m a serial writer. I write section by section — and when a section is done and edited and rewritten and polished and proofed and really done, I post it and move on to the next section. The thought of writing a full first draft of a novel, from beginning to end, chapter after chapter, sounds like a hugely tedious undertaking to me.

    1. Dunx says:

      It’s not for everyone, Anthony – that’s for sure. My working style is Moses-like: I want to come down from the mountain after months of labour and present my truth as a complete and perfect thing. I’ve done serials in a small way, but breaking continuity within a large story arc terrifies me. I don’t feel like I have enough control in an episodic context.

  2. Roberta Hegland says:

    So this is year eight for me doing NaNo – I did skip one year, my intention being to do a final edit of year one novel that an agent asked for at a summer conference. Fail! Still working on that edit, two years now. But continue to write NaNo because if give me a backlog of stories. And my novels are interconnected – the characters are related or know one another. Actually, they are a microcosm of living in Portland – half the people I meet know someone I know – it’s weird and exhilarating, all at the same time.

    I’ve been part of an internet list called Club 100, whose goal is to write 100 words a day for 100 days (virtual tiara, streamers and pats on the back). It’s silly, but it has kept my finger in the writing pie, helped me to finish blog posts and novels alike for 6 years. That’s how I’ve powered through December!

    That said, doing NaNo could change for me, but for now – I’m back in the fray!

    1. Dunx says:

      That sounds like a fun way to keep writing. This blog is what does it for me – I have a posting schedule for a reason, and gruelling as it can be I try to stick to it.

      Good luck with your preparations!

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