Originally, I was going to post part two of What’s So Good about Goodreads: Using Goodreads As a Writer, and I will, once the NaNo madness is over. You see, I know a good portion of you are writing your butts off right now and don’t have time to make the dinner much less read blogs, so I’m going to save that post for another day. Instead, I’m here to talk to all the NaNo rebel writer’s out there. Believe it or not, we do exist. I’m one of them.
With all the NaNo hype going on in November, it’s hard to believe there are writers who choose not to participate, don’t find NaNo useful, and don’t find word counts motivating. Now, before the NaNo enthusiasts decide to hit me with rotten tomatoes, I am not saying NaNo isn’t valuable, but I am saying that it’s not for everyone. Shock! I know, right?
If you’ve chosen not to participate, and you’re feeling as if you’re the only writer in the world not buzzed on caffeine and frantic about your daily word counts, you’re not alone. I’ve found NaNo doesn’t work for me. I’ve tried. I’ve pushed, and I’ve even come 10k shy of winning, twice. In the end, I felt beat up, un-satisfied, and left with what I felt were a lot of useless words that I put on the page simply to make my daily word count. Was it a waste of time? On the one hand, I learned a lot about my process, (which is why I think all new writers should try it at least once) on the other hand, the novel, if you could call my ramblings a novel, had little in it that I wanted to salvage. After considering the mess of a first draft I created in 1 month compared to the somewhat coherent first draft I created in 4 months, I decided, for me, I would rather write slower, higher quality drafts than rush the writing. I learned that I am not a sprinter; I am a long distance writer, building momentum and pacing myself until I win. Two different styles to achieve the same goal and neither better than the other, just different. And in that moment, I asked myself, why am I doing NaNo? Why indeed.
For me, November is just another month where I do what I should be doing all year–putting words on a page, moving my story forward, and reaching my goals. Some days the words flow better than others, but I don’t stress myself with word counts, I may be slower but my first draft is cleaner. This is how I work. This is my style, my process. I make no apologies for it and neither should those of you who find you’re not sprinters either. Sometimes we forget that NaNo is a tool, a motivator to get writers where they want to go, but it’s not the only path. We each have our own journey and process. Don’t be afraid to say no to NaNo if it doesn’t work for you. It doesn’t make you less of a writer, it doesn’t mean you’re a wimp, and it doesn’t mean you’ll never finish that novel. Sometimes writers start with NaNo and find that once they’ve learned the foundations, they outgrow it, that’s ok too, but don’t use not participating as an excuse not to write. So whether you’re a NaNo sprinter or a long distance writer, stay focused and write on.
I know my fellow hugs and chocolate ladies as well as a lot of our followers thrive on the NaNo experience, and I completely support the caffeine educed frenzy as you go for it and push through words, paragraphs, and pages to complete a novel. I applaud your energy and bravery and think you are truly awesome. I’ll stand on the sidelines and cheer you on and celebrate your win, because it is hard and is an amazing achievement.
Are you a sprinter or a long distance writer? Do you NaNo or not?