National Novel Writing Month started yesterday and while I have in the past made attempts at participating, I think it’s time for me to admit, more to myself than anyone else, that NaNoWriMo just isn’t for me. I’ve tried it for 5 years now and never successfully completed it, nor have I even really gotten more than half way through. The reason is simple: I can’t write under those conditions. Once upon a time I could. One summer, I banged out a 300 page “novel” in 30 days. And you’ll never read it, because it reads like something a teenager banged out in 30 days on a second hand word processor.
I like the idea of NaNoWriMo, how it fosters camaraderie and encourages people to take that first step to write. But it’s not for me.
I’ve written 2 books and am 2/3 of the way through a 3rd, and what I’ve learned from the process of writing these books is that I can’t write 50,000 words in a month. Not 50,000 words anyone would want to read, anyway. And while NaNoWriMo is about motivating you to just sit down and write anything, however good it turns out, this is what I’m about at this point in my career as an author. I’m at the stage where I need to produce quality, not quantity.
Now of course, part of that is also producing quality on a regular basis, and through much trial and error, I’ve discovered that at best, I can manage 1000 words on a good day. Simple math will tell you that I’m not getting anywhere near 50K words in a month at that rate. I’m lucky to produce 25K words a month. And I’m OK with that.
At that rate, I can still write a full length novel in 6-8 months, with planning and patience. And really, that’s the stage I’m at right now, learning to use the patience that comes along with the process to craft something worth the time and effort, both of me and my readers.
So, while I applaud NaNoWriMo for encouraging people to write, I shall henceforth do so from a respectable distance, admiringly.