writers' corner

To NaNo or Not to NaNo by Goldie

Hello everyone!

Happy October! You all know what this means! For writers out there who are interested in participating in NaNoWriMo, this is the month when we start to plan our novels (of course this also depends on whether or not you like to plan, or if you like to just wing it!) You might have heard the word “Preptober” thrown around! For the rest of the month, I have a line up of AWESOME Preptober-themed blog posts on Writers’ Corner!

To kick off Preptober, we have a guest post from the amazing Goldie @ One Day at a Time about making THE decision to do NaNoWriMo…. or not. If you haven’t checked out Goldie’s blog yet, please take a look! Goldie fills it up with wonderful short stories and other thoughtful musings.

Even though I have been writing ever since I can remember, I have never sought out a writing community. The stereotype of a lonely and misunderstood person scribbling in secret has always been alive in my head.

It was a little bit naive on my part, but I had no idea how tight the writing community could be. I didn’t even know such things existed!

Image result for writing community

When I created my blog two and a half years ago, it was to release my thoughts, to discuss them, and to reawaken my creativity. It is not a secret that life took a toll on me, and as a result, I did not have the time, or even the will to write for a few solid years. Consciously, I felt numb, but subconsciously, I felt like a caged animal, needing to run free; like a person with amnesia, who lost their memory of how things used to be. When I came to realize all of that, I was horrified. Not writing had gone unnoticed for way too long, but I was finally awake and willing to make a change. The beginnings of my blog were very humble because I had no idea how to gain an audience.

Boy, Sitting, Lantern, Outdoors, Asia, Vietnam, Dawn

As time went on, I started discovering other blogs and following those that interested me. For a couple of months, things were good (for my then meager standards), and I was always pumped to see new posts in my Reader. However, around the end of October, and then entirely in November, I started feeling lonely again. It felt as if I was from another planet. People around me spoke a language which I could not understand. Maybe I did have amnesia, after all? My Reader was filled with posts about “NaNoWriMo.”

Back then, I had no idea what it was. Nothing made sense to me. It appeared as if the people I followed all had a secret code, which they forgot to share with me. I felt alone again for a while.

Ufo, Alien, Alie, Futuristic, Science, Fiction, Weird

After a while, I figured out what NaNoWriMo was. Because I remembered how awful it felt not to know the meaning behind the acronym, I would like to make sure that EVERYONE reading this knows/ finds out.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is an event, occurring annually every November, in which anyone can participate. The goal is to write 50,000 words between the 1st and the 30th of November.

Chandelier, Light, Light Beam, Sea, Surreal, Fantasy

It was too late for me to start in the middle of November of 2017, but seeing all the hype behind it, I vowed to myself to participate in NaNoWriMo the following year. And so I did.

During the month of November 2018, I wrote more than 50,000 words on an entirely new project. At the beginning of the month, all I had was a vague idea for a book. No plan. No outline. Nothing. It was rough. What I learned was that if I were to attempt this ever again, I would participate in other events organized by NaNoWriMo throughout the year to prepare myself for the writing in November. Although I am a major pantser (I sit and write without any prep work), I think having SOME sort of an outline is crucial. You WILL have days when you do not want to write, or even worse – do not know what to write. What then? Knowing WHAT to write will allow you to get the necessary words out.

Did I do NaNoWriMo for the community? Absolutely not. I found it impossible to find time for chit-chat or meet-ups between my full-time work, 50k writing, and everything else. I went to a write-in and walked out within two minutes, after ordering a grilled cheese sandwich to go. It just was not for me. And so I perpetuate the stereotype of a lonely writer.

I am a solo writer, and I do not share my notes until I am done. However, if you do not want to completely alienate yourself from others as you write, the community will not let you down. Everyone is SO motivating and supportive.

The pride at the end of the month is insane. You are not aware of what you are capable until you push yourself. Did I think I could write 50,000 words in a month? No! Did I push myself and achieve that goal? YES! This was the best thing I could have done for my writing.

Cup, Victory, Winner, Award, Gold, Honor, Greeting

Will I be doing this again this year? No. Why? Let me explain.

Some people participate in NaNoWriMo every year. All the power to them. It depends what your goals and objectives are. If you want to challenge yourself annually to write more, go for it. If you can write in November and then do the edits, query and get published before the next NaNoWriMo rolls around, go for it.

I, however, do not belong to either one of those groups. What I wrote last year is something I would like to take further. Unfortunately, I have not worked much on my NaNoWriMo project since last November. Because of that, I do not want to start developing something new, since I am not done with the previous project. I want to see things through first. THEN, I will think about doing NaNoWriMo again.

To recap:

To NaNoWriMo:

  • if you enjoy challenges
  • if you want to push yourself to write more
  • if you have an idea, which you would like to see come to life
  • if you participated in other NaNoWriMo-related events throughout the year and/ or have a solid outline/ plan for your novel
  • if you would like to meet fellow writers and feel a part of the community
  • if you do not know what to do with your free time

Not to NaNoWriMo:

  • if you barely have any time to breathe as it is
  • if you do not know what you would like to write about
  • if you are a perfectionist (you will keep on editing instead of writing)
  • if you have already-started-projects, you would like to focus on
  • if you easily crumble under pressure

You can check me out on Twitter @EnneaGramType8 or on my website dailyflabbergast.wordpress.com .

Stay golden,

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Are you a writer? Whether you are a published author or an aspiring writer, you are welcome to contribute to a feature on Writers’ Corner, whether it is an author interview or a guest post. Check out the details here!

Photo by Ana Juma on Unsplash

12 thoughts on “To NaNo or Not to NaNo by Goldie

  1. I think I first learnt about NaNoWriMo when I was reading Marissa Meyers books. I’d love to try it out one year but I expect it will probably end up being next year, rather than this one. I’m not huge on planning but I definitely would want to get a bit more outlined first tbh (I only have a few vague ideas atm) but I do love the sound of the challenge and think it’s a wonderful way to stay motivated with your writing. I hope you continue working on your project from before as you hope to.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm, yes. Though I’d do it with absolutely no planning. And I probably wouldn’t set the word target that high. I don’t think I’ll do it this year. November this year I’ve got assignments to do, but if I’ve a community and support doing it, I’d love to, even if I write nonsense.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Still not sure whether to do Nanowrimo this year, tbh. I was one of those people who did and “won” Nanowrimo every year—from 2012 to 2018. It was partly due to pride that I wanted to keep winning Nano. But this year, I’ve had a big re-evaluation of my life. Long story short, I realized that, maybe subconsciously, I believed I would only get the approval of my friends if I published and sold books. So even though I don’t have the desire for fame or for making money from my writing, deep down, I still felt like I had to: I had the responsibility to publish a number of books, otherwise, my friends and fellow writers would disapprove of me and not take me seriously. Yet lately, I discovered that I’m enjoying myself much more when I’m writing for myself. I write for pleasure and self-expression. In my stories, I get a space to feel and think whatever I want without worrying about other people’s opinions. I desire freedom.

    Just because I primarily want to write for myself, doesn’t mean that I don’t care about the writing craft, however. I get an intrinsic joy out of learning new things and improving my skills. In fact, I would be depressed if my writing skills never changed. Moreover, it’s not an all-or-nothing situation. There will be pieces that I want to keep privately, and there will be pieces that I want to share with others. And of course, there will be pieces in between, where I only want a certain group of people (or a certain person) to read them.

    As much as I love writing, whether for myself or for others, I find that I’m much happier now that I’ve given myself the permission to write more slowly. Now, I actually have more time to do other activities in my life, and engage with wider circles of people. I’m still writing, but I no longer whine (as much) if I don’t write 1,000 words in a day, for example. (There was a time when I complained about not hitting 2,000 words in a day, lol.) It’s okay if I’m just writing a bit here and a bit there, since I don’t aim to become a best-selling or a full-time author anyway. Even in publishing, I would only self-publish for fun. I self-published one book so far, but I’m unhappy with it and am still working on a second edition, because Amazon refuses to pull down your book page once it’s up on their website. :/ Even when I explained to Amazon staff that I’m transgender and have changed my name, they still refused. 😦 They were sympathetic, but regretfully told me that they couldn’t take down my book page, and that I can’t even change the author name, sigh.

    Okay, so that wasn’t so brief, after all, lol. But suffice it to say that I’m still not sure whether to do Nanowrimo this year. A part of me would be bummed that I’m “ruining my personal record,” but the other part of me would be relieved to have the pressure off.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Sieran!

      Sounds like you’ve reflected a lot about what you love about writing, which is great. I think you should go with your heart. If you feel like writing 50K a month then go for it! If not, then writing at a slower pace works too (better to write a bit everyday all year round than to burn out after a short period of time!)

      I didn’t realize that Amazon wouldn’t let you take down books! However it’s good that you’ll be continuing to self-publish novels. Keep me posted about your upcoming books (of course no pressure! your writing speed is up to you!)

      Liked by 1 person

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