NaNoWrimo: The Next Round


Vision 69



The Next Round


Lazette Gifford

Joyously Prolific Blog

Copyright © 2012, Lazette Gifford, All Rights Reserved



I first did NaNo in November of 2001. I was not prepared, and I didn't even consider the idea of writing more than one novel that year. I finished about ten days early with a bit over 70,000 words and I'd had a lot of fun.

I was hooked.

Over the eleven years I've taken part, I've written 29 novels and over 2,000,000 words during the month of November. Six of those novels are now published (seven, really, since I completely redid one, starting over with a new outline). This year I'm struggling to get an outline done in time. If I don't, I still intend to leap in and have fun like every year.

I've seen some interesting comments from people who have taken part in NaNo in the past. One that really surprise me is:

Did it. Won. No reason to go back again.

As though NaNo is simply redoing the same thing each year. This isn't true -- at least not if you're a writer. Every November is a new challenge because the manuscripts are always different. What worked well last year for the first volume of your epic science fiction/fantasy/western will likely throw you some odd problems this year for the second volume. The challenge isn't about typing; it's about writing.

This is where I think some people make a mistake. They look at the word count idea rather than the manuscript and think this is a race. It isn't. NaNo is a nudge -- or a shove -- to get to work on that manuscript you've been talking about for the last five years. For some of us it's a dare to try something new sometimes, like a new genre or a new POV. For many the challenge is not to write 50,000 words in a month, but rather to write an entire novel (of whatever length) in that time. Yes, some of us end up doing more than one. We're crazy, insane and having fun.

Fun? Are you crazy?

Yes. I said so already. Absolutely crazy and in love with the joy of writing. I work very hard to get most of the first week of November cleared of all the work I can. I leap into the first day with thousands of other writers around the world, nearly all of us enjoying ourselves in ways that non-writers could never understand. It's not about the numbers; it's about the creativity. This is not a race, and it's not a competition. This is a shared writing experience with other writers around the world. NaNo is an intense thirty days where you can, if you are inclined, apply yourself to writing in ways you never have before.

If it doesn't work out for you, it's not a problem. Not everyone needs to do NaNo. It certainly won't make or break you as a writer. You will not have a great masterpiece when you are done with November, either. You will had a first draft, finished or not. Editing is the next phase.

NaNo isn't for everyone. Nothing is. If you don't like the challenge, or try it and find that you don't work well under this sort of nudge, then don't worry. We're all looking for what works, and it's no harm to try. You never know what you can achieve if you aren't willing to experiment now and then.

NaNo isn't a race or a competition, either. What everyone else is doing may interest you, but it has nothing to do with your work.

Me? I plan to write a novel in November. That's what I always plan, and though I usually do more, that's not the goal.

The goal is simply to have fun. If you love writing and think this might be enjoyable, I hope to see you there.