The NaNoWriMo Pressure is ON

I can’t do NaNoWriMo this year. That’s National Novel Writing Month, for the unenlightened.  It’s not that I don’t want to, because I do. But I’m on deadline (one I’ve made for myself) and I am still getting used to writing around a full time job.

Every writer’s loop I’m on, though, is pushing it. “Who’s doing NaNo? What’s your NaNo name? Let’s start a support loop!” The push is from ALL the writer’s groups. Not that anyone denigrates those of us who don’t do it; but it seems like EVERY writer’s loop I’m on, there’s someone putting together a NaNo support loop. Even my publisher has a NaNo loop. But the peer pressure to join the support loops? AMAZING.

If I WERE to do NaNo this year, I could technically join nine NaNo loops; I’d spend more time reading messages from the support teams than I would spend writing. Um, what’s the purpose again? I know, not every writer belongs to nine groups – some only belong to seven. Or maybe a conservative four. Still…I miss the “olden days” of NaNo. Back when only four or five thousand people were doing it.

When I first did Nano, waaaay back in 2003, the only people I knew who were doing it was my best writing buddy Jenn Reese and a couple writers I knew in Texas. It was a mostly solitary endeavor, with the exception of delightful posts from Chris Baty and the NaNo organizers; and I can truly say that my work was a vomit draft, with “no plot, no problem” my mantra. However, I couldn’t fix those 54,000 words to save my life. The book still lurks on my hard drive, waiting to pounce on me when I don’t have anything else to write about. Luckily, that hasn’t been an issue.

I next completed NaNo in 2008, along with my two teenaged sons and my husband. There were more people doing NaNo, but I focused on my own, internal support group. We all finished; we all rejoiced. That book is in much better shape, but because of the books I’ve written in front of it, it will now most likely be mostly scrapped – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’ll be able to save bits and pieces, just not the whole plot. *wince*.

The good to come out of this go-round of NaNo? My eldest son is taking writing classes in college and really enjoying them; and my youngest is doing NaNo again this year, only this time he’s writing in French. (Yes – in FRENCH. I have strange and wonderful kids.)

So all you NaNo-ers out there, I applaud you. I hope you’re plotting and planning, and that your novel-to-be has some sort of structure before you start (though technically that’s against the spirit of NaNo – or it used to be, anyway). I shall plug away at my novel rewrites and continue my blogging, and not miss the STRESS of NaNo at all. I can stress myself out just fine, thanks.

Maybe next year I will have the freedom to do NaNo again. But for now, I’ll cheer all of you NaNo-ers on from the sidelines – when I’m not busy writing.

 

 

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8 Responses to The NaNoWriMo Pressure is ON

  1. Robena Grant says:

    I’m with you Christine. I’ve done it twice before but those stories were not worth trying to redeem. : )
    The pressure is incredible and my back was really acting up toward the end. I’m a fast writer anyway and produce a couple of manuscripts a year. My problem is I need to slow down to write well enough in the rough draft that subsequent rewrites are not a total re-do. I don’t need to write faster.
    More power to all who are venturing into NaNo land this year. I applaud you. I hope you are hugely successful. : )

    • Christine says:

      Robyn, thank you for agreeing with me on this! I was starting to feel like a bad writer, for not being more gung-ho on NaNo this year.

      I hear you regarding the back issue – I have to make sure I take LOTS of breaks or I end up with a totally tweaked back. And that’s just from working at my day job – 90% of my job is word processing.

      I hear you in the need to slow down department, too. Cheers my dear – and here’s to finishing up our current manuscripts so we can start the new year with – um – something new.

  2. Hey Christine!

    Finally, I know what the heck NaNoWriMo is! (I am one of the unenlightened.) Everytime I heard people refer to it, I just thought it was one of those software programs people are using to help them write. lol

    As far as writing around a full time job… I just finished my first real MS and it took about seven months worth of weekends (375 hours// 100k words). I kept a time sheet and it has been interesting to go back and look at my writing habits. Judging from my average, there’s no way I’m writing 50K in one month. lol

    • Christine says:

      Christine, you’ll probably go faster with each successive novel. The first one can be a bear to do – it took me 9 months to write my first novel, and 9 weeks to write my second. All the rest have floated somewhere in between.

      And you COULD write 50k in a month if you tried. But for some people, that way madness lies…

  3. Maria says:

    I’ve done NaNoWriMo three times and only finished once. I had to scrap the last 20K words but the first 30K are still fairly intact. I am finishing that book from last year and am not doing NaNo this to stay focused on what I am doing.

    I have to plan something and the two times I didn’t, I haven’t been able to use any of that. I do love NaNo and will miss it this year, but I am finishing the BLESSED book! But you did make me laugh about the nine support groups and how much time you’d spend reading email. I’m still smiling about that.

    Wish your son “bonne chance” on his french novel.

    • Christine says:

      Maria, congrats on drawing to a finish on that novel!

      Yeah – my hubby says NaNo is for the “common folk” – not necessarily for writers who want to sell their stories (though I know there are a ton of us writers doing NaNo this year). He looked at me quite cross-eyed when I suggested I do NaNo this year, and gave me an emphatic “No” – even though he’s doing it, lol!

      Hugs dear!

  4. I, too, am NOT doing NaNo. I feel like one of the kids that gets picked last for the basketball team, but the reality is, I too have a day job. And a novel I just finished about five weeks ago, so November is NaNoEDITMo month for me. (And I also write two blogs which I will be neglecting while I concentrate on the edits.)

    I wish everyone participating in NaNoWriMo a very exciting and prolific month, but am happy to be sitting this one out. Maybe next year the timing will work out differently.

  5. Erica Barton says:

    Oh – I am totally doing NaNo again. For some reason, it is only during NaNo that I am ever able to write 50,000 words in a month. And though those books are never the final product, they are some pretty good solid bones for my stories. I spend the rest of the following year fleshing out whatever I created in November. For me, it’s the competition with my fellow writers that seems to spur me into action.

    So Christine, I’ll miss you in Nano, but I’ll see you in the other loops.

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