To NaNo or not to Nano

Posted: October 23, 2014 in Uncategorized
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It’s that time of year again, and as such I feel the need to make the obligatory post, not only because I think it’s a fantastic program, but also because much like a gambler I’m typically “all in”.

Despite my past history of always saying “Yes! I’m doing it!” the decision to participate in this fall’s NaNoWriMo wasn’t an easy one. I had already come to grips that November is an awful month for me, full of busy things that I’ve committed to and hinder my ability to give it 100%.  That and nothing is more disappointing than knowing all that, participating anyways, and getting maybe 10,000 words to page. Yes, it’s 10,000 words more than I would have if I didn’t write, but as a writer they are words I probably would have gotten down anyways.

Anway, through a strange twist of events I find myself looking at my schedule and realizing it isn’t as full as prior years. I could actually give it the old college try and make a real go of it. Typically, this realization would have been met with a “Hell yeah!” but instead I found myself waffling for several reasons.

1. NaNoWriMo Events

I’ve always been intrigued by the write-ins that happen during NaNoWriMo and whether it was just the fact that I was booked any night that they had one, or just didn’t want to travel twenty minutes to the opposite side of town, I’ve been to all of one. I love the idea. It’s not conducive to my work ethic (I chat way too much in group environments), but the ability to bond with other writers that I would otherwise not run into is an amazing opportunity. Now I have more time but the closest event is an hour’s drive away…grrr.

2. The Commitment

I already set aside time to write… just not nearly as much as NaNoWriMo requires. My inner lazy-bones bristles at the idea of increasing the time I already devote, especially when it thinks of how much 50,000 words can accomplish. I’ve been working on a project for almost a year now and I hoped I would be much farther along. Putting into perspective how much could get done in a month if I put my nose to the grinding stone makes me feel a little…guilty. No one likes to feel guilty.

3.The Prep-Work

In doing NaNoWriMo I wouldn’t be doing it as a normal participant. I’d be a rebel, working on what I’ve been trying to get through and put it to bed. To do this requires a lot of extra prep-work. I’m one of those fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants people who writes the scenes that spring to mind first and fill in the blanks later. More than that, I like to write with pen and paper first, and then transfer it to the computer. This means when I get going I can have a great many pages that are written but after awhile I lose my main thread and have to put them together in a document so I can regain my footing on the story.

I have a lot of papers that haven’t been transferred. It’s causing the equivalent of that awful word “writer’s block”, which as I’ve previously discussed I agree isn’t really a block it’s the brain revolting. After writing down a bunch of scenes I tend to lose track of which scenes I still need and the flow of the story. Putting them together helps me back on track… it’s also a lot of work.


So, last night I thought of all these items that were stopping me and decided “screw it!” I bit the bullet and signed up for NaNoWriMo yet again.

As the prep-work is the one thing I can control the plan is as follows.

1. Turn the handwritten to digital

I have one week to gather together my schnibbles and put them into digital files so I know what I already have done. This is really something I would have to do anyways and was procrastinating on so Yay! Taking Initiative!

2. Make a Scene Plan

Like I said, I’m a pantser, but as such I do tend to get gaps in my story. I don’t have a problem filling the gaps in, but I have to know they exist. So I’m going to make a list of what I have and gaps between them to fill in ideas of what I need.

3. Put Order to the Plot Bunnies

I don’t know if you do this, but I tend to write a scene and then write a discussion with myself as to character motivations, backgrounds, or thoughts on how things need to get fixed. I have a lot of these running around. It would be helpful if the ones that were answered got discarded and those not were taken into consideration moving forward.

If I know what I’m doing perhaps I won’t have so many moments of writing memos to myself.


In all honesty, this is way more structured than I’m used to, but when you have 30 days to get down 50,000 words a little forethought is helpful.

I won’t even think about the fact that I’m probably cutting out weekends from my writing schedule. That way lies madness.

What about you? Joining? Abstaining? Weighing your options until the last possible moment?


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