To NaNo or not to NaNo?

WritingWith less than two months left to go before the start of the National Novel Writing Month 2011, I’ve had to make a difficult decision: I’ve decided not to participate this year. After participating for the last four years, and my dismal failure last year, I’ve decided to take a year off. This was not an easy decision to come to.

It’s not without good reason though. It has nothing to do with the failure to complete much of a word count at all last year. That happens. The main reason I won’t be participating this year is because I’m trying to focus on getting the first draft of my novel finished, which I’ve been working on and rewriting elements for too long. I’m the worst kind of artist: An absolute perfectionist. So, I’ll still be writing during November, but I’m not going to put the pressure of having a specific word count and giving myself the leeway of rewriting and correcting, something that is nearly impossible to do during NaNoWriMo (although that’s also part of the point of it). Since I’m trying to iron out some wrinkles and character issues, I find myself getting into a rewrite pattern at times, which slows progress, to say the least, but it’s still a necessary part of the process that I need to allow myself to deal with. That, and I’ll be working on something that I’m already working on, which is technically a violation of the rules.

However, this is will still be a good tradeoff. Completing this novel is important to me and I need to put the proper work into it rather than jamming it through. Besides, I tried that already. This novel was partially written during NaNoWriMo two years ago, and I was not happy with the result, which is likely what contributed to my dry spell and having to fight through some blocks until recently.

Still, I’ll maintain my registration with the site and participate in the forums. I may enter my word count for what I actually write during November into the site’s word counter just to boost my region a little, but I will definitely not be shooting for those fifty thousand words that I’ve tried for every November since 2007. I might also write at midnight on November 1 just to feel connected even if I’m not really participating.

As I said a while ago, I’m hoping to have the first draft of the manuscript done by the end of the year, so I’ll probably be back next year. But this year, I have to focus my creative energies in a different area, and dividing them at this crucial stage would likely be disastrous. I have to sacrifice something for the greater and long-term good.

I will miss you, NaNoWriMo, but we will meet again.

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