Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thoughts on NaNoWriMo 2012

We may be in the heat of summer right now, but in just a few months we'll be coming up fast on the first of November and the start of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I haven't figured out yet what I'll be doing writing-wise during that month. Last year I wrote the first draft of a YA time-travel fantasy "Adrift." I have yet to get back to doing a second draft of it.

I'd said earlier in the year that I didn't want to work on a new novel project without making an effort to see "Adrift" through to further drafts. On the one hand, I wonder if "Adrift" is even salvageable -- I'd only been back to writing several months when I wrote that draft and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it had major flaws. On the other hand, that feels like sort of a cop-out -- an excuse to leave something undone.

There are other issues at play as well. The majority of my writing -- maybe 80% or more -- since I got back to it a year ago, has been short fiction. And that's where I'm putting essentially all of my energy now. My reading is primarily short fiction, the things I critique for others are mostly short fiction, etc. And short fiction is what I have the most affinity to, in a lot of ways. So I'm not sure that setting that aside for 1/12th of a year to write another first draft, or even to write a second draft of "Adrift" is what best suits my writing priorities. (The other side of this equation is that novel-writing is generally much more likely to produce significant income than short fiction writing. For something that I spend a large percentage of my free time on, I shouldn't totally neglect that aspect, I suspect.)

If you asked me right now, I would mostly likely choose to go into NaNoWriMo with an enhanced fiction word-count goal for the month, maybe 25,000 words, but otherwise keep writing what I'm already writing -- short stories. I would "hang around" the fringes of NaNoWriMo and maybe go to some write-ins, but I wouldn't be aiming to "win" by getting to 50,000 words.

But who knows, I may change my mind and though it's not that far away, there's still a fair amount of time between now and November 1st.

Have any of you thought about NaNo for this year yet? If so, what are your plans or thoughts of possible plans?


  1. This is my first year back writing and I'm not doing a good job of consistently producing work. I'm a writer's group and one of the members is reading their nanowrimo product from last year to the group and it really seems to be just a jumbled mess of insanity.

    So, I'm not sure if I'm going to participate. On the one hand I wonder if it might help me set a real habit of writing every single day. On the other hand, does it make sense to set such a high goal for writing and then produce something that may not even be editable into something that can be sold? So, I'm like you. I'm conflicted about it and for me November is still a very long way away. I've got months of gardening to finish and I may have changed jobs by then as well.

    1. I will say that I don't think the possible poor state of Adrift has much to do with the speed at which it was written. Rather, I think it has to do with a combination of 1) It being the first novel-length work I attempted and 2) The state of my writing skills in general at that point.