Monday, November 25, 2013

Perils of the Writer: NaNo No No No

Right now, on November 25th, the rough draft of Banshee stands at 54,932 words. 

If I were doing NaNoWriMo, that would be pretty impressive.

But I'm not doing NaNoWriMo, and I started writing this book in earnest in September.  I've been writing at a steady pace that, while hardly breakneck, has been working for me.  And it's the fastest I've written a rough draft, with the exception of the one year I did successfully did NaNo.

And that novel is an unreadable mess.  Even with a post-NaNo re-write.

This novel?  It's a rough draft that will need a strong editing hand when its done.  But I feel like I'm laying a solid foundation of character and plot to make that editorial work far more rewarding than I could ever have done with that NaNo project. 

Part of that is because I'm a stronger and far more seasoned writer than I was when I did that.  That NaNo project was part of the process of learning how to write a novel, and I think it is a fantastic way to do that.  When it comes to those Big Question sort of things about "Can I write a novel?" "How do I write a novel?" "Am I really a plotter or a pantser?", then an exercise like NaNo is a great way to test yourself.  An old friend of mine recently ran a 5K, more or less to see if he could, to figure out what his currently fitness level is.   NaNo is the same sort of thing. 

Plus there is the emphasis on "winning" and "losing", and keeping that pace.  I know personally, nothing is more discouraging to my writing than failing self-imposed deadlines.  More specifically, when falling behind makes making said deadlines feel more and more impossible.

Now, this is different for everyone.  If writing at a 1500-2000 words a day pace works for you, if you can manage it without your pulse hitting 180 and your lungs burning, go for it

But it's not for me.  Especially since having only one month as "novel writing month" doesn't work for me.  Every month is novel writing month.

Which means its time to jump back into the word mines.

2 comments:

Cora Foerstner said...

Great post. I agree NaNo is not for everyone. I tried it last year, but I didn't like the breakneck speed.

However, it does work for a lot of people. I tip my hat to them.

Katie Cross said...

This is my first year doing Nano, and I don't think I'll do it again, just because there's so much drama associated with it.

Overall, I think it's been a positive experience, but I already expected about 2,000 wpd out of myself, so hitting that was never extraordinarily crazy. I expect a lot of myself, though, and am blessed to have a little extra spare time at this phase in my life, so I'm taking advantage of it!