Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It's November... You Know What That Means...

Yeah. It's National Diabetes Awareness Month and in less than three weeks my first big assignment, including my writing submission, is due to Pacific U.

What? You weren't thinking the same thing??

Okay, I'll admit... It's NaNoWriMo, and I'm not doing this... again. I've thought of it, but somehow November never works out in timing for me to start and write a full novel. Last November, my debut Some Kind of Normal was going through it's final, final checks and getting ready for publication. I spent all my time reading through the book blocks. The November before that I began my querying for that book, and querying was a full-time job that month.

I have legitimate excuses, for sure, but I admit also that I'm secretly pleased I had great reasons not to try to write 50,000 words in a month. For one, I think it just sets me up for failure. I don't write fast. I can't even write badly fast. The words just don't come that fast. I get spurts of great productivity, but they usually come later in the book, when characters are fully entrenched in my head and scenes are unfolding.

Also, no matter what time of year it is, family always comes first. And family tends to get sick in November. And sick kids don't make for great writing days. And Christmas is around the corner, and plans need to be made and executed for that, or I might just go crazy in December. The more I get done this month, the more I can enjoy the holiday season - and make it special for the kids - without stress. (Okay, I'm still working on this one, but I swear one year I'm going to master the no-stress holiday season!)

Finally, writing, I've figured out, has to be a lifestyle. Tayari Jones wrote a great post at SheWrites about NaNo, comparing it to a crash diet. You work like heck to fit into the size smaller dress in a few weeks, but in the end, you end up going back to your bad habits and not being able to maintain it because it wasn't a life-style change. That's what writing is to me: a discipline and a life-style that I choose everyday to do, not 50,000 words in a month but in a few hours a day, consistently, every day, week after week, month after month.

I'm certainly not saying NaNo is bad for everyone. I think it's a fantastic tool to jumpstart projects, and enthusiasm in weary writers, and to build a community of like-minded, like-motivated individuals. It's just not for me.

So are you joining the writing frenzy this month, and why or why not?

While you comment, I'm going to go celebrate National Diabetes Awareness Month by chowing on my kids' Halloween stash.


  1. I feel like I've read so many posts like yours, most people saying that NaNo isn't for them. I'm with you. It's not for me either. Last year I did National Grow a Baby Month which was very hard work. And I won as I was the only competitor.

  2. Not doing it. Wouldn't be prudent. ;)

    I was already 15K in to a new one. Math didn't add up. Fuzzy math.

    Okay, I'm done with Saturday Night Live skits.
    ~ Wendy

  3. You're a pro now. You don't need to be doing silly things like NaNoWriMo.

    Also, I agree about the family part. For me to do NaNoWriMo, I did have to take a bit of time away from my family, for sure. It will be nice to enjoy Thanksgiving this year without stressing about wordcounts.

  4. I'm with you. No NaNo for me. At least the traditional one. I'm actually cleaning for Nano. NaNoCleMo. 2700 minutes.

  5. Wendy - I'm surprised how many people aren't doing it! Good luck on your current project. I think NaNo is for people who need a good jump start, and a reason to stay disciplined. Sounds like you already have both! :)

    The rest of you are too funny! Maybe we should all just rename this month for whatever we need it to be for us!

  6. I'm with Jessie, there's a lot of people out there getting more disenchanted with NaNo. I've never tried it, so I can't say, but November is busy with family for me as well, so I'll just have to struggle along, writing when I can.

  7. How was the chow down?? teehee No NaNo for me. Surgery on writing shoulder aside, I'm a slower writer too learning to enjoy the process instead of just getting something done.