Sunday, October 21, 2012

Why I’m Struggling to Commit to NaNoWriMo

T Minus 10 Days to NaNoWriMo. I intend to participate this year, but I haven’t yet declared my commitment. Because I’m afraid.
Last year, I fell into NaNoWriMo when my manager/friend convinced me to go to a writing group. It turned out to be a NaNoWriMo writing group. In the two hours I was there, I convinced myself that I should give it a shot, even jotting down some ideas. However, I wasn’t driven, organized or prepared at all.
When I got a second job a week before November (and went from working 35 hours to 50 hours a week), the NaNoWriMo idea flew out the window into the chilly autumn air. Having two jobs was an excuse, and I took it.
Now October has come again and NaNoWriMo is approaching (again). I’m still hesitant to commit. Because I will likely fail. The fear of failure is using my writing soul as its squeeze toy. But my fear is based on an unsettling truth. My best week of writing has produced 3000 words. To be a NaNoWriMo winner, I have to average 12000 words per week (to meet the goal of 50000 words in 30 days.) That’s a 400% improvement. Can I do it?
Can I, for the first time, make a solid commitment to a month long writing lifestyle and meet a word count goal and end with a rough, unedited, probably horrendous draft?
In two weeks, I’ll know. Because if I can’t manage to write at least 10000 words in the first week, it’s hard to recover from (or so I hear). In the meantime, I’ll organize and outline and plan scenes and flesh out characters and imagine settings. I’ll try to prepare myself.
Ten days until November.
Ten days until NaNoWriMo.
Ten days until the writing blitz of my life.


  1. I've still never done NaNoWriMo... not sure if it's fear of failure, or just that I don't feel the need to freak about that many words per day. Writing a novel in two-three years is enough pressure for me!

    If you go for it, have fun and be productive.

  2. You can do this. You can do this!

    A challenge that scares you is going to be more worthwhile to attempt than one you're indifferent or confident about. Tell your fear of failure to find a new chew toy and throw yourself into the writing. I just looked at the website--perfection isn't required, right? You may come out of this thinking that your rough, unedited, probably horrendous draft is the most beautiful thing you've ever beheld. :-)

  3. Someone once told me that the first order of business in writing something isn't necessarily to write it but to "get in written." This event should help you with that.

    And 50k words in a month (<2k a day if you divide it out) is quite easy if you can find a way to replace the constipation that over-thinking causes with the diarrhea that comes with thinking less and writing more.

    Not easy to do, I know. I'm not particularly good myself at writing with a wreckless disregard for how it sounds. I wish I was. That way I would have tons more rough draft material to overthink, overanalyze and overedit.