NaNoWriMo or NaNoNoGo?

Filed under: Chasing Adaptation, Check-it-out, Community, SCBWI, The Opposite of Gravity, Touching the Surface, Wolf Pack, Writing, Writing Style

For years I’ve been hearing people talk about NaNoWriMo –National Novel Writing Month. From November 1st until November 30th, participants set a goal of writing a 50,000 word novel. I’ll admit it, part of this has always intrigued me, but it has also scared the crap out of me and because of that, I’ve never seriously toyed with the idea of participating. I’ve had a list as long as my arm of reasons I could not participate and this year the excuses have grown with TOUCHING THE SURFACE coming out on October 30th. Just so you know where I’m coming from, I’ll share the highlights from that list with you…


*I’m working on revisions for book #2

*My local dance recital (I teach and dance) takes place in November.


*I am a painfully slow writer who struggles through first drafts.

*I never get enough sleep.

*I’m still recovering from all the work we’ve done on the house.

*I have three boys ages 7,9 and 11 who participate in lots of activities and need help with their homework regularly.

*I like to run several times a week for a sanity break.

*I blog.

*I’m a procrastinator.


So, it’s obvious that I’m not going to be able to do NaNoWriMo this year…WHICH IS EXACTLY WHY I REGISTERED ON SATURDAY AND I’M SIGNING UP TODAY!!!!!

Ha! Bet you didn’t see that one coming. *grin* Yes, I know that I’m insane. Now let me tell you why I’m going to be giving this a shot…

*First of all–I’m going to be doing this because the SCBWI–particularly my Hudson Valley Shop Talk Members ROCK! Lisa Koosis, one of my local writer buds gave a guest presentation at my local Shop Talk and she got me sooooo excited to break out of my box and give this a try. She told me a million things to make me want to give it a go, but the three that stuck out the most were…

1. It’s just supposed to be fun.

2. Even if you don’t finish, you’ve probably done more than you would have without participating.

3. You can discover unexpected things about yourself.


As Lisa talked and I got a bunch of fluttery tingles in my belly–usually a sign that I’ve eaten something bad or I’m excited–I started to think about why I might want to participate in this event.

*I HAVE THE BOOK LAUNCH OF MY DEBUT NOVEL!!!!! And as exciting as this is–I’m scared. There I’ve said it. It’s exciting AND scary. (There will be a spin off blog post on this later) But I suddenly realized that it might be a really good thing for me to have a reason to step away from the madness. It’s a full circle thing–when a book is born, perhaps the best way to celebrate is to write something new. So…I think that it might be very healthy to have a reason to unglue my eyes from reviews and Amazon’s Author Central.

*I’m working on revisions for book #2. I love revision–it’s easily one of my favorite parts of the writing process. The story is there, it just has to be manipulated. I don’t know how long that process will take me, but I know that when it’s over, there will be the typical wave of fear and insecurity about having to write another first draft again. What if I can sneak in a part or all of a first draft while I’m revising? This idea intrigues me. I’ve been marinating ideas for book 3 for quite a while, but I don’t feel “ready” to tackle it yet. But what if I trick myself into thinking that NaNoWriMo is nothing more than hard-core stretching and training for the writer in me. What if I give myself permission to take a crack at this rough draft under the guise that it isn’t “real writing”–its an activity, an event, a journey.

*My local dance recital (I teach and dance) takes place in November. Yeah–and how many hours is that out of my life? Not enough to use it as an excuse. The truth is that I have days when I’m drafting, where I have six hours to sit and write and there are days when I squeeze in 45 minutes while the boys are at jujitsu. Not always, but often, I’ve managed to write the same amount of words on both of those days. Perhaps this is about FOCUS.

*Thanksgiving. I do not host Thanksgiving at my home. I spend the day eating and socializing. I watch the parade and I do kicks in my living room along with the Rockettes on TV. I can squeeze this in or I can double up on another day. Using this excuse makes me a turkey.

*I am a painfully slow writer who struggles through first drafts. At least this is how I think of myself. I have a system for writing and I like it–it works for me. The only time I really have trouble with it is when the other members of the Wolf Pack whip off manuscripts in sick amounts of time. It makes me queasy and insecure even though intellectually I know better. But what if I can do things a little differently. When I’m investing myself in a book I revert to wanting to attack it in a familiar method–one I’ve had success with. But this is a little like tricking myself into doing something different. What if shouldn’t be the gateway to potential failure–it should be a question that makes us want to try.

*I never get enough sleep. But I watch TV. I mean–not crazy amounts–but I make choices. It’s only for a month, right?

*I’m still recovering from all the work we’ve done on the house. But I still have a month to put things to rights and realistically, everything I clean is always going to get dirty again…dishes, laundry, kids. By the time I start, I’ll be much more organized than I have been in awhile. So I just have to make that effort to stay on top of daily chores so that I don’t go under physically or emotionally.

*I have three boys ages 7,9 and 11 who participate in lots of activities and need help with their homework regularly. I’m going to have three busy boys from now until forever. I started writing SURFACE when they were 2, 4 and 6 years old. I have no recollection of when I actually did that–but I must have. LOL! Besides, soccer ends mid-month, there is break after the recital and we do have a Thanksgiving break. Plus–they support me. And my lovely hubby has been traveling a lot which means I have no excuses.

*I like to run several times a week for a sanity break. No reason to stop. I write in my head when I run anyway. I let my subconscious take the lead when my feet are in a rhythm. No need to change that–it might help me get my words out faster when I sit down.

*I blog. Ha! I’m sure it’s going to give me lots to blog about.

*I’m a procrastinator. Sometimes, but not always…

Have you ever done NaNoWriMo? Completed it? Liked it? Loved it? Hated it? Have you been avoiding it like me? Secretly long to try? Have a great excuse for not playing? Tell how you NaNoWriMo or NaNoNoGo.

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  1. I’m so excited you’ll be participating! I gave a lot of thought to it as well, but since I’m waiting on hearing back from editors and I already have two books ready (another waiting revisions) I decided it would be fun to go back and write a company novel. Still a part of the series but different. But yeah, it’s only a first draft. Maybe you should just try plowing though? Not stopping, not going back, not changing things as you go… Just writing. See where it takes you!

    I’ll admit that I’m also excited that we can do this together 🙂 yay!

  2. Yay! You’re doing Nano! Lisa’s talk was great and our fellow SCBWI’ers can cheer each other on. Join the madness. I agree–a lot of the time it’s all about the FOCUS. I’m joining in again but this year I want to concentrate on something I already started.

    • Yay!!!! This will be so much fun! Lisa did a good job!!!!

  3. Good for you! And what a great plot twist, as our fearless author decides to go for it anyway even after listing all those great reasons why not. 🙂

    I’ve never done a full-fledged nanowrimo, but I really try to push myself through first drafts in 2-3 months, and I’m always up for trying different methods to achieve it. I agree with you that a quicker method is especially challenging/potentially rewarding, so BEST OF LUCK!

  4. Hahaha, nope I didn’t see it coming and I am well impressed!

  5. Wow, you may have just inspired me to participate as well. I have a list of reasons ‘why I can’t’. But they are just excuses. Right? OooooOo. I’m so excited. Thanks for this post!

  6. Kim, I’ve done Nano for several years and sometimes with crazy stuff going on in my life at the same time. For example, the first year I did it, we’d just moved and I hadn’t even unpacked yet. That Thanksgiving time is always hard too and I do host a large crowd. That said, Nano is awesome. It changed how I write–laboring over every word in a first draft. You just can’t do that in Nano. My first-to-be published novel Thin Space was created out of a Nano several years ago. Anyway, good luck and have fun with it. Also, so excited about your new book. Will definitely be following your example here as a debut author.

  7. I haven’t tried it so far. Mainly because I’m superstitious–if I sign up, I’m sure the universe will zap me with dozens of writing roadblocks.

    But…I AM trying to get going on Book 3, and it’s possible this might be a way to jump-start it. And, as you pointed out, even if I don’t finish it, I’d probably still be ahead of where I’d be without it.

    Hmmm. I must mull this over…

  8. This year will be my third time participating in NaNoWriMo. I loved it so much, I even joined Camp NaNoWriMo this past June (it’s also available in August).

    While I have yet to complete the 50,000 words, I usually manage a little more than half of that. A HUGE deal for me, never having written that much before. Now I can’t seem to stop!!

    • You are fabulous! You guys are making me soooo excited!

  9. YAY! You are doing NaNo! I love NaNo, it’s so much fun. Even though I’ve only completed it once, and my story sucked so bad. I still do it anyway, because it’s a good way to push myself when I’ve been procrastinating so much where my writing is concerned. This year is going to be my year. While I’m bending the rules a little for me – I’m planning on completing the first draft of my WIP, which is at about 10,000 odd words, I had set myself the challenge to have the first draft completed by the end of September. That didn’t quite happen. So to push myself, I’ve allocated myself to the end of November. NaNo does challenge me a lot, so we’ll see how I go!!

    Good luck with it – and YAY! Book launch time!

    • Yay!!!! I think the right amount of tension and flexibility gets things done! Good luck!

  10. OMG! Seriously? LOL. You’re a SUPERWOMAN!! I’ve never done NaNo and I don’t think I’d be able to, because I am an edit as I go gal. I know there are many cons about this, but I can’t work the other way. Ha. I think I’ll do NaNoreamo, and read a lot, though. 🙂

    And I’ve been thinking about your book so much! Seriously! I’m counting the days. I can’t believe time has gone by so quickly!!

    Hey, good luck with those revisions. You know I love your book, and I can’t wait to know it’s also getting published!

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