Nov 30, 2015

Why I Skipped NaNoWriMo This Year

Messrs Cooper, talking at motor car
Image from New Old Stock, original Flickr link here.

                                                                                                                                                              The National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it's known to its friends, is finishing up today. Congrats to everyone who participated, whether you hit the 50k words or not. Good for you!

I skipped NaNoWriMo this year, and I probably will in  the foreseeable future. It's just not for me.

Last year I tried my own version: writing as many short stories as I could. I liked the feeling of community and all the pep talks etc., but I discovered that the process of writing for word count gave me quantity, not quality. In the end only one of the short stories I wrote ended up being worth the trouble to revise. The other two were just a mess. (Sure, there's a nice scene or two, but the story just doesn't come together.) That's what writing without a plan gets me.

So, lesson learned: I'm definitely not pantser material.

I have to go at my own pace, even if that means watching other writers zip by. Some writers are scooters, some are even race cars (hi there, Mr. Wendig), but I'm a pedestrian; it's slower, but you get to take in the scenery as you go.

That's the other thing: comparing yourself to others is seldom a good idea. Even if someone else manages 3,000 words a day, it doesn't mean I have to. My 500-1,000 words will get me there in the end.

And who knows, maybe as time passes and my writing (hopefully!) improves, I'll get faster at it, too.

Hey, maybe I'll trade in my hiking boots for a rickety bicycle next year.

One can only hope.

What about you? Who are you as a writer? The unicyclist juggling bowling pins? The trusty tractor ploughing the same field over and over again? Or maybe the bulletproof silver Aston Martin rigged with smoke screens, front wing machine guns, and an ejector seat? Tell me in the comments.


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