The Pros and Cons of NaNoWriMo


crest-bda7b7a6e1b57bb9fb8ce9772b8faafbThis year is the first time I’ve signed up to take part in NaNoWriMo. In the past I’ve always stuck firmly to the idea that being pressured to write X many words per day would take all the fun out of writing. I prefer to do it at my own pace, happy in the knowledge that I’m writing all year round rather than just one month of the year.

Having spent the last year trying to get into the mindset of a serious author, I am now forced to recognize that professional life is full of writing to deadlines and the sooner I get on board with that idea, the better. Writing at my own pace all year round is fine if I’m pottering but if I want to produce enough work to build a readership, I need to improve that pace from an amble to at least a jog. (I hate running – this paragraph needs a better metaphor.)

Also, there’s the question of Book 3. Spiritus and Corpus both filled me up with words to the point where I could barely breathe until I’d got some of them down on paper. Which is both awesome and frustrating (although mostly frustrating for anyone trying to have a conversation with me whilst battles rang in my ears). The point is that I didn’t get scared of the story until we hit editing and I realized where the problems were. Book 3, on the other hand, is the most technically challenging structure I’ve ever attempted. It combines two POV protagonists who never meet or even learn of each other’s existence, but who are both necessary to tell the greater story of the country they both inhabit. For someone who’s inclined to first-person single narrators, that’s quite daunting.

I’ve written up copious research notes. I’ve drawn story arcs and chapter outlines. I’ve even written excerpts from a critical third character’s perspective, to help understand her relationship with one of the narrators. But I’ve been running scared of actually starting the book itself.

This is where I’m hoping NaNoWriMo is going to help. I won’t have time to be scared because there’s a deadline to meet every damn day. And, as previously mentioned, deadlines are good things to get used to. Will it take away from the fun and magic of writing? I guess I’ll find out.

If you feel like following my progress, and/or sharing your own if you too are partaking, come and find me (everwalker) on the NaNoWriMo website. Let’s do this together!


3 responses »

  1. Oh good luck with NaNo, I’m doing it too! I’ll pop over to the website and add you as a buddy then so we can cheer each other on 🙂

    I actually quite like having a word count target for the day, I get a real sense of accomplishment once I’ve hit it. So far I don’t think it’s taken out any of the fun of writing, for me anyway – hope it doesn’t for you either!
    A little trick I find helps to keep me on track on days where I’m just not inspired at all, is that I tell myself that I only have to write 500 words for that day. More often than not by the time I’ve reached that, I’m in the zone enough to actually want to keep going.

    • Got you! Not long now…

      That’s a good trick. I use that for jogging and housework – the whole ‘little bit more’ brain trickery – but I haven’t tried applying it to writing before. Thanks!

      • Haha, I should use that for jogging, never thought of that.
        Although we recently adopted a puppy so now it’s more that I get dragged along the whole route and I don’t really get a chance to stop. That’s one way of getting fit I guess! 😉

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