To NaNo or Not to NaNo This Year

Before you know it, November will be here. November is National Novel Writing Month–the challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days. I’ve participated since 2008 and have had great fun. In 2008, I still worked full-time and had a travel schedule that was fairly typical for me then–of the thirty days in November, I was on the road for thirteen of them. So, my first NaNoWriMo was 50,000 words in seventeen days.

In 2009 I was freshly retired and starting a new life in a new town, and I was thrilled with the fact that I only had NaNo to focus on for the whole time of the challenge. The next two years were the same.

This year, well, I seem to have a full plate. I have a manuscript I want to submit to a contest, and the window for submissions begins November 15. The MS is in good shape right now, but, of course, before submitting it, I’ll want to go over it thoroughly.

I have a second manuscript–my Spy Flash flash fiction stories–which I’ll complete in mid-October. I’d like to get that out via Kindle Select in December, which means that November would be formatting, editing, double-checking the formatting, more editing and revising–in other words, the final polish.

I also blog three times a week, every week, and I have a novel MS currently in a critique group, which means revisions on that are on-going. So, will I have time to write 1,667 words per day? That certainly has never been an issue in the past, but before I’ve always put everything aside to concentrate on NaNoWriMo.

Writing, as with everything in life, is balance, something I’ve tried to achieve this past year by establishing a writing work schedule. I’ve stuck to it well, except for the submissions part. I did increase that percentage this year–with two successes out of six submissions–but I didn’t submit as consistently as I planned. However, the manuscript I’m submitting to the contest contains forty of my 100-word stories, which I’d saved and accumulated specifically for this contest. That might make up for my slacking off in submitting. At least, I think of it that way.

I’ve come to enjoy the NaNoWriMo camaraderie–both on-line and during local “write-ins”–so much that I can’t imagine not doing it. And this would be a landmark year for me and NaNoWriMo–my fifth year. (I like collecting the little web badges.) I have a project that’s been simmering for a while that I’d like to flesh out more, and NaNoWriMo is perfect for that–it “forces” you to get that first draft down.

So, to NaNo or not to NaNo? That is the question. I’m still pondering the answer.