Saying “No” to NaNoWriMo

Thousands upon thousands of writers are gearing up for National Novel Writing Month where the goal is to produce at least 50,000 words of a first draft.  It’s described as Thirty days and nights of literary abandon. I won’t be joining them.  And it’s not just because I’m in the middle of finishing the latest round of revisions to Calyn’s story for my agent.  I tried NaNoWriMo about five years ago.  I managed to produce 11,000 words before I stopped trying to get through what was turning into the thorny hedge of my story. Then it took me a couple of months to first untangle and then relink all those words.  In the end, I would have come out ahead by proceeding at my normal, plodding pace.  I do believe in the power of writing with literary abandon.  Donna Jo Napoli shared some insights on that at a recent conference on Mackinac Island.

I believe in the power of the amorphous blob that she talked about, but I can only stay in that zone for three or four hours.  Then I have to sort things out and smooth them together so that I know exactly what happened to my characters before I move on. Even though NaNoWriMo doesn’t work for me, I know that it has worked for thousands upon thousands of writers.  I’ll be wishing them well as they come up to the starting line with their outlines and character sketches.  On your marks. Get set.  Write!

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