Why I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo this year

Why I’m not participating in NaNoWriMo this year

Another October is passing quickly, and many in my writing community are all atwitter about their impending National Novel Writing Month projects. I’m not.

For the second year in a row, I’ve chosen to ignore NaNoWriMo.

Now, let me be very clear. I love NaNoWriMo. NaNo (because typing out the whole thing is way too hard) is responsible for me publishing in the first place. I started writing again after several years off for NaNoWriMo 2009. Or perhaps 2008. I don’t remember. I participated (and won) in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

If you’re doing NaNo, then let me be the first person in your camp cheering you on. You go with your bad self, you! Seriously. I’m not being sarcastic. I think NaNo is a fantastic experience, and I think it can help writers focus, can give them a supportive community around them, and can be the push they need to get them writing every day (or close to every day) and finally get them to their dream of publishing.

But here’s the thing.

I already write almost every day. Once, I believed word count held dominion over all else. Now, I know that the quality of those words eclipses any number, big or small. I no longer need the drive to complete a novel. I’ve got that in spades. I need the calm focus that might allow me to only create 500 words in an evening, but that allows those words to be good, solid words that stay in my manuscript, not 1667 words that might not.

So I’m not participating. Again.

I’ll miss NaNo. Oh, I’ll still be around. I’ll participate in some of the #NaNoWriMo twitter chats, and I’ll even host some over at #PageCurlWrites. I’ll cheer on all of my friends who are doing NaNo. And I’ll be there to provide virtual coffee or photos of sexy shifters to keep them going.

But I’ll do all of this from the sidelines where I’ll be content with my lower word count. There comes a time in every writer’s life when you have to step back and decide what’s right for you. When you realize that quality is better than quantity (note: some people can do both, I can’t…at least not right now).  I write prettier words when I’m not concerned with how many I’ve put down on the screen. I write deeper emotions when I don’t stay up until midnight every night just to get my word count in. I keep to my outlines better when I’m not frantically trying to finish just one more chapter before one day ticks over to the next.

So I’m not participating. All of you who are, have fun for me. I’ll see you all in December.

1 Comment

  • Roanne King Posted October 19, 2015 10:28 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I would actually love to participate but I’m working near 30 hours per week (a day job as a web content writer/editor) and need my 8+ hours of sleep. I had a blast last year, made tons of online writing friends, and wrote the first draft of a novel I am still in the process of editing. So I guess I’ll be cheering along with you. See you there!

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