The beginning of December means the end of this year’s National Novel Writing Month. I had three previous attempts with one win (last year) with NaNoWriMo. I thought long and hard about entering again this year, and decided not to. And, while it might have been tough seeing all the updates and people reaching the goal, I think it was the right decision.
For one thing I’m still working on the novel I wrote last year. There are some parts I’m really proud of…but the ending horrible. My most recent attempt at “fixing” it included lopping off the last quarter of what I had and starting on writing a whole new second half for it. Not pretty. Very depressing. Very necessary.
There’s also a story I’ve been working on in bits and pieces for the last few years. It’s one of my sanity stories. You know what I mean, one of the stories I go to when I need to take my mind off of things and get lost in something. I truly love this story and most of the time the words flow pretty easily. Perfect for NaNoWriMo you say, nope — the novel you write can’t use previously written content. Since I already have five chapters and lots of snippets of scenes and dialogue that I really, really like, I didn’t want to start over from scratch – honestly it would feel like a waste of time to rewrite what I had rather working on what I don’t have.
Which leads me to the third thing, time. If you’re going to take on a challenge like writing over 50,000 words in a month, then you need to give everything you have to the task. My life is very different from what it was in November last year, each day is a new challenge with two kids being cyber schooled and living with my in-laws. That’s not good or bad, it just is. I knew in September when I started thinking about prepping for this years NaNoWriMo that I didn’t have the same fire that I did last year. My head and heart are pulling in too many directions for me to focus on writing for hours at a time every day.
And, I think that’s okay. In 2011 and 2012, I just pushed to write everyday and was happy that I did. Which is fine too. I knew those years that I didn’t have the kind of time I needed to get a novel written but I had the fire to write. This year I knew that my time and my heart weren’t where they needed to be, so this was the year not to push it. I think I would have felt worse not finishing this year, so why punish myself?
Would I have liked to, sure. Will I try again, probably. But I need to know that I have the right focus, and maybe more importantly the right story. This year just wasn’t the year.
Congratulations to the winners. Congratulations too to those to who didn’t make it but gave it shot, any time you get words out of your mind and out in the world is an accomplishment. Amazing effort by you all and you should be very proud no matter how many words are on the page!