It’s there, looming over me. Possibly you feel it too. It’s here. November has come, and “fun time” is over.
No, I’m not talking about the election. I’m still in denial about that.
I’m referring to NaNoWriMo. Beginning November 1st, those of you (us) participating in National Novel Writing Month will have 30 days to write 50,000 words. That is 1,667 words a day, every day. Yes, that does include Thanksgiving Day. No, football is no excuse.
I have participated every year since (I think) 2012. I have actually finished, “won,” about every other year. I didn’t plan it, that’s just the way it has worked out. The years I didn’t finish, I didn’t have a good enough idea to write 50,000 words, or I just didn’t commit to doing the work. You need to commit to finish NaNoWriMo. If you don’t, it’s not going to happen. But based on past history, this should be a year that I will participate and finish.
As many of you know, in August I released the first issue of Planner Junkie Magazine. The second issue came out in October. Working on the magazine takes up a great deal of my time. However, it is a bi-monthly magazine and the next issue isn’t out until December. While I do need to work on it in November, much of that work is prep-work, and some of that was done in October. While there is still a lot to do, I’m confident I can get most of it done in December before the release.
Besides coming up with an idea, my real challenge is committing to writing each night. I have a day job, and I’m not an early riser, so it’s definitely going to have to be at night. It is not easy to find time to get things done in general. Finding enough time consistently to write is even harder.
As for coming up with an idea, my approach to writing is not very well-defined. I am not an outliner. I’d love to be. I’d love to have some idea of the beginning, middle and end of my stories. I just don’t work that way. Each year, I start NaNoWriMo with one or two possible starts, but no idea if those will pan out. I don’t know that until I start writing. Either I stall out fairly early on, running out of ideas or writing myself into a corner I can’t seem to escape, or I get lost in the writing. When that happens I am excited to find out what happens next, because I frequently don’t know until I write that part.
It’s a big decision, and I put a lot of importance on it. Every October when other blogs and writing sites begin talking about it, I feel this nervous pressure in the pit of my stomach until I make the decision to participate (or not). It’s part excitement and part panic. As November nears, the excitement increases and the panic turns to abject terror. All-in-all, October is my favorite and most hated time of year. The anticipation (plus the fact that I LOVE Halloween) and the pressure to participate in this annual writing event, pressure I am very aware that I put on myself, make it an interesting month.
Now, November has arrived, and the pressure has lifted. I’m participating. I’ve started. I’m not sure where my story is going, but I’m excited about the vague ideas I have so far.
Have you participated in NaNoWriMo in previous years? Are you again this year? Or will this be your first year?