Reflective Writing

To NaNo, or not to NaNo

It’s October, a month most known for free candy and beer. And, in my case, the start of mailings for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. The idea of NaNoWriMo is simple: write a 50,000 word novel in a month, that month being November.That’s about 1667 words a day for 30 straight days. There are events, online groups, and lots of other things going on in support of buckling down and writing your novel.

Last time I did NaNoWriMo was 2009. I did not succeed, in part due to losing interest in my first story eight days in. Still, between the two stories I wrote about 36,000 words, which was not too shabby. There were other complications, like travelling for Thanksgiving and getting hit by a car. But I digress.

Coincidentally, 2009 was also the year I wrote Fratricide. In October of 2009, I was editing the story and getting frustrated as it started to well and truly fall apart in my hands. I decided to do NaNoWriMo as a way to put the project down for a while and clear my head with something different. Now, I still have momentum, but am writing sporadically and am not sure how to change that. Will an unreasonable goal give me motivation?

The spirit of NaNoWriMo is to write a complete novel, start to finish. As such, you’re heavily discouraged from bringing in works in progress, even if you intend to write 50,000 words or more on them. So I’d be writing something completely different from Fratricide. That’s not a problem, and I already have an idea.

The problem is what happens after November. My hope would be that I can return to Fratricide refreshed, and attack it with renewed vigor and consistency. I don’t know if that will happen. An interruption could prove fatal. At the same time, I waited seven years to rewrite it…how bad could another month really be?

Attacking a new idea will give me practice with what I’ve been faltering on: just writing, without doubt or too much reflection. What you need for NaNoWriMo more than anything else is output, so it’s helpful to not reread your stuff at all and just put the hammer down so you can get your 1700 words a day. This is something I have difficulty with, and the practice would really help.

I’m not decided yet, but I have a little under four weeks in which to figure it out. I’m going to try and get Fratricide past the 10,000 word mark, though, in order to ensure that it’s established enough to return to after a hypothetical break. Regardless of what I pick, though, I’m going to try my best to increase my writing momentum through November.

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