Tuesday, November 3, 2009

NaNo My WriMo

Ah, November. November is a month of goods and bads for me. On the one hand, Thanksgiving--and especially Thanksgiving dinner--is fantastic, but on the other, the air is now cold enough that it can no longer reasonably be called brisk. Fortunately, that means sock season is upon us, but it also means the college football season is kicking its last. And somewhere in the middle of all this is NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month, for the uninitiated) is, apparently, the month set aside for writing novels. The idea is simple: Start and finish an entire novel sometime between November first and November thirtieth. But the actual doing, of course, is much more complicated.

Consider, for example, a 60,000-word novel, which is actually on the shorter side. To complete said novel within the allotted timeframe, you’d have to compose an average of 2,000 words a day, or roughly eight typed, double-spaced pages. If you’d like to take a day off every week, you’re looking at averaging just over 2,300 words a day, or about nine and a quarter typed, double-spaced pages. And if you only plan to write on weekdays, you’re up to a little more than 2,700 words a day, or nearly eleven of those typed, double-spaced pages. And they’re probably not going to be terribly polished pages, either. Heck, I don’t even know if I’d have the time to put 2,000 stream-of-consciousness words down on paper every day, let alone anything that was actually readable by someone who wasn’t living inside my head.

But I think the thing about NaNoWriMo that really gets to me is the whole, I don’t know, randomness of it all. It’s like Valentine’s Day: If you don’t have a special someone, you probably don’t even notice the day’s any different (or you notice too much and work yourself up into a hand-wringing dither that only chocolate will fix). And if you do have a significant other, do you really need a special day to show that special someone you love him/her? I mean, don’t you show him/her that sort of stuff every day?

So it is with writing. Either you don’t write most of the time and you don’t plan to this month (or you decide to try and don’t last the first week). Or you do write, all the time, and then November comes along and you…what? Write all the time? Weren’t you already doing that? Except now your writing is probably far below its usual standard, since you’re struggling to churn out those 2,000 words.

I’m sure this method works for some people, and that’s great. Maybe it’s a wonderful way to produce a first draft and I just haven’t caught the vision yet. As it is, I think I’ll just hunker down and hold out for Turkey Day--and go buy myself a new pair of fuzzy socks.

2 comments:

StephanieD said...

"But I think the thing about NaNoWriMo that really gets to me is the whole, I don’t know, randomness of it all. It’s like Valentine’s Day: If you don’t have a special someone, you probably don’t even notice the day’s any different "

I agree with you. I think it's for writers who need that extra push of a shared goal with a community. Otherwise, it seems like madness! I admire those who can accomplish 50K words in one month, though.

Krista G. said...

As do I (admire those who can get 50,000 words out in one month). I once read of a woman who wrote 40,000 words in two weeks, and she became my hero for the day:)

Thanks, StephanieD, for dropping in.