Don’t get me wrong. I believe National Novel Writing Month–lovingly referred to as NaNoWriMo by the tens of thousands of its participants–is a great thing. I have participated seven times and have completed writing the required 50,000-word novel during the month of November five of those times.
In fact, the first time I participated, I was so worried whether I would be able to finish the required 50,000 words, I wrote them in 17 days. Seventeen! It wasn’t my best writing, but it was a lot of fun. And I will have to admit, NaNoWriMo is a LOT of fun, if you are willing to commit to it. On top of that, I’ve gotten several books out of it.
But I have two reasons why I won’t be doing it this year.
One, this is my last year of teaching. NaNoWriMo, at the least, is a distraction from everything else going on in your life during that month. As this is my last year of teaching, I really don’t want that distraction. I want to remember this year of teaching. I’ve done NaNoWriMo before, so I have nothing to prove.
Second, I am working on a book at present, but I am not in a hurry to complete it. In fact, NaNoWriMo tends to take me in the opposite direction from where I want to go. I have a nasty habit of trying to write quickly and missing description that really needs to go in scenes. NaNoWriMo teaches you not to edit, but to keep writing, to move ahead and go for numbers. Quantity, not quality. After writing two dozen books, I’m looking for quality.
Right now, I just finished the sixth chapter of my book. I finish a scene or two, and find myself thinking about something I need to add or change in the scene. It’s the best time, for me, to fix it. While it’s fresh in my mind. I wouldn’t have that opportunity with NaNoWriMo.
I might be back to NaNoWriMo next year, when I am retired. We’ll see.