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?