With November quickly approaching, it seems that there’s been quite a buzz about NaNoWriMo. So, I thought I’d spend today writing a little about it.
I’ve been a happy participant since 2007 and also enjoyed Camp NaNo. I distinctly remember I was traveling for a few days in Stockholm in 2007 and staying at a hostel on a boat. It was November 1st and I hadn’t realized it until about 7 or 8pm. I’d been so excited about writing 50,000 words in 30 days, but as I had been traveling for the past week and a half, the date completely slipped my mind until I was sitting on that boat with my computer on and my eyes fortunately strayed to the date. It was a sci-fi story about an alien race whose planet was being destroyed so a group of them left and somehow landed on a deserted Earth. They began to find letters written by the previous inhabitants, letters that described daily life, love letters, and letters talking about an awful curse, which caused the extinction of all humans. Sadly, I lost that novel when my computer crashed about two weeks before I was to return home from studying in Denmark. Since then, though, I’ve faithfully participated every year and in every Camp NaNo. What started as something to kill the boredom (it’s COLD up there and, being from sunny, warm Southern California, there was no way I was going outside past 5pm) turned into a small obsession.
That is, until this past summer. See, I’ve loved accumulating completed novels, but then I hardly ever do anything with them after the month is over. Raven was one of my Camp novels, and it’s still unfinished. I reached 50,000 words, but there are still more chapters that need to be written and I’ve been lazy about getting to them, though I hope that posting chapters here will give me the kick I need. (No Tomorrow was also a Camp novel, so, in my defense, I have managed to totally complete ONE NaNo book). Over the summer, though, I was moving and knew I couldn’t do 50,000 words in July, so I cut it down. And then I realized a novel really isn’t finished in 50,000 words and I can’t seem to get started again once I reach that 50,000th word, though I have no trouble continuing on if it’s not a NaNo story. The why still mystifies me. And it’s become very frustrating because I have other NaNo novels from years past that still haven’t been touched and may not have been concluded.
So, with that said, I’ve decided to not do NaNo, Camp or otherwise, any more. I already know I can write 50,000 words, I can write a whole novel, and I can write a whole novel in 1 month. As a matter of fact, the very first novel I finished took less than a month and was more than 50,000 words and was years before I found NaNo. Hopefully this new decision of mine will prevent my laziness at finishing a story and prompt me to polish up all my finished works. I also found that, year after year, I would wait until (Camp) NaNo to even write any story. That has become increasingly more frustrating to me for the past couple of years as I’ll have ideas and then just say to myself, “I guess I know what I’m doing in November/this summer.” I’m trying to get out of the habit of relying on these months to get my writing done, and to have an excuse to spend hours writing when I know, and my husband knows, I want to spend time writing. I’m also no longer bored as school keeps me very busy, as do my husband and very demanding cat!
To those who are doing NaNo this year, I wish you the very best of luck and tons of fun! Maybe one day I’ll rejoin your number, but, for now, it’s not working for me and I need to re-establish a new writing routine that doesn’t rely so much on 3 months out of the year and I need to become less lazy about my stories after the month is over.