I’ve been wanting to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for a few years now, but it’s just never worked out. Two years ago, I was working full time and spending around three hours in the car commuting every day. Last year, I was doing the same, but with the addition of grad school. This year, I actually have the time, since the only thing I have going on at the moment is grad school. Which has made me realize: time isn’t really the issue. It’s just an excuse.
NaNoWriMo scares me. Not because of the amount of work; if I can write a twenty-page research paper in two days, I can write 50,000 words in a month. The truth is, I’ve been attempting to write a novel for the last ten or so years.Do you know how many I’ve finished? Zero. I have written hundreds of beginnings in probably almost every genre imaginable. I have plotted out worlds and created characters. I’ve thought up murder mysteries and fantastical kingdoms ruled by fairies or evil witches. But I haven’t written more than a few chapters of any of them. I don’t know if I’m too self-critical or if I just haven’t found a great idea yet. But either way, it’s hard to imagine myself actually finishing a book. However, in this instance, NaNoWriMo might actually help me. I’d be accountable for a certain number of words, and I wouldn’t have the type to hyper edit the first chapters before moving on. I’d be forced to actually sit and write for thirty days. And starting over or drastically changing my story wouldn’t be an option, so I’d have to just keep going. Which means I might actually finish something.
Just one problem: that would require an idea. Now, I have a few. I’ve even outlined almost an entire novel for the publishing class I took a few months ago. But I feel like I’d need to be really excited about an idea to get me through an entire novel of it. So choosing the right one is a bit daunting. Although, at this point, I feel like I just need to get a novel out of my system, no matter how much it sucks. So I could just pick one at random and start writing. Which makes my OCD mind cringe, but it might be doable.
I’m still debating (though I don’t really have much time left). Part of me just wants to let another NaNoWriMo pass and write a novel on my own terms. But I also kind of want to give it a shot. Who knows? Maybe being forced to write 50,000 words in a month is the push I need to actually finish something.
Have you done NaNoWriMo? I’d love to hear about your experience!