NanoWriMo or No?

It’s that time of year again. Pumpkins are rotting in the living room before we even got to carve them; kids in sugar induced frenzies are racing through the house, destroying their costumes before they even get the opportunity to go out and acquire  yet more sugar. The air today was crisp, a distant cry from our recent warm streak.

Yes, its that time of the year again. It’s almost November 1st, the start of NanoWriMo. Horrific grammar aside, the last two years I’ve participated, and successfully completed the goal of reaching 50,000 words before the end of the month. But I’m on the fence this year for participation. We have

The Pros

  • Writing does occur. That’s more than I can say for the rest of the year, this year being no exception. Although my output has been better than recent years, I still haven’t made my goals for the year. In January I made a resolution to get published this year. In a few weeks, I wrote three short stories that I thought were spiffy. Then I failed. Rather than set them aside, let them grow a little mold so I could go back with fresh eyes and revise them, rather than spend that molding (I know, I know, the proper word is mouldering, but my writing tends to get a little gangrene with age), I quickly reread them, made some corrections, and sent them out. And did nothing. Waited. Resent. Waited. I got some great rejections, inspiring rejections, but I didn’t continue to produce.
  • The post NanoWriMo period is usually filled with a refreshing vigor that results in yet more writing.
  • There is actual pleasure in the social competition of trying to make your goals.
  • You learn some things about yourself and writing when you go through this.

The Cons

  • As of yet, nothing I have produced in NanoWriMo has truly been worthy of completion. In fact, I have yet to actually complete a novel started in NanoWriMo. The closest I got was two years ago, when my novel made it to 78k before I gave up on it.
  • It is an incredible drain on free time and family, neither of which get enough of my time as it is. The last few months of preparing for the holiday season at work have really taken their toll at home. My wife, who can be found in any standard encyclopedia or dictionary under “saint,” has supported me supporting work 100%. The kids have been most amazingly understanding. But I see it taking its toll, and even if the overall taxing of work on my time relaxes now that we’re ready for the holidays, my schedule is changing for the season, so there’s little difference during the week.
  • I have a short story I’ve been working for the last month or two. I like it. It has potential. I’m in middle of revising it, and really don’t want to start anything new until its done. I have no idea where it will fit in the markets. I shudder to think it, but it almost fits the “Paranormal Romance” genre (but with less scantily clad characters….er, that is, less of them, not that their even less clad…), definitely in the weak horror/urban fantasy world. Its not so much a departure for me as a return to something I haven’t written in fifteen years.

But…I have to admit, there’s appeal to doing it this year. And I am a sucker for peer pressure if I’m already on the fence. Said conversations usually go like this:

"Hey Mike, I was wondering-"
"Fine, I'll do it!"
"I said I'd do it, didn't I? Go on, Mister Nameless-CoWorker-Writer-Friend, gloat, I'll do it."
"You will? Are you sure?"
"And let you say I couldn't cut it? You bet!"
"Well." Awkward silence. "That's great, I guess. We thought it would take more for you to be willing to work the extra hours."
"I'm committed. Never back down, never surrender, and all that."
", when can we have it?"
"At the end of the month, like the rest of them."
"The end of the month? But we want to launch this Undisclosed-Code-Related-Merchant-Thing-Feed as soon as possible, and its only the first!"
"Oh. You weren't talking about NanoWriMo?"
"Oh, that? I figured you were doing it. You always do."
"Oh. Yeah, well," I say, getting bashful. "Depends on what the wife says. It actually impacts her more than anyone."
"Whatever dude. Thanks for agreeing to write all that feed code for us."
"Yeah, sure, no problem..."

So….we’ll see. But I’m easy.

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