NaNoUhOh

Previously I’ve written in part about my NaNoWriMo experience and how that encouraged me not to be a novelist. This is just a follow-up.

It’s Great If You Love NaNoWriMo

Plenty of new and established writers love NaNoWriMo, and the whole PrepTober madness preceding it and the Feburary or March editing rush following.

If it helps you write, finish, and get your work out into the world, awesome. If it helps you endlessly work through draft after draft, or send the work through unbearable chains of beta readers and agent pitches, that’s…less awesome? At least you’re still creating!

Experiences, especially with other people, are valued treasure. If the NaNo experience jazzes you up, by no means let my raincloud ruin the parade.

It’s Great If You Wanna Write Novels

I’ve said it before; I’m not an aspiring novelist. And there’s the whole NaNo Rebels thing, right. You can write 50K words of short stories in Novemeber just as well as a novel.

But goal setting for short stories, I’ve found, works better with weekly and monthly targets, not a daily word count and monthly sum-up.

It’s Great In A Community

This one is all on me. I wasn’t as plugged in to the NaNo community my winning year. At the time I was focused on writing and “growing an audience” on Twitter (sigh). So time that could have been spent getting to know other writers in my geographic neighborhood was spent chasing likes and follows. Dear god, what a fool!

It’s Great If You Haven’t Just Did The Ed Sullivan Show

I mean, I won, right? Never again was there a desire to sit down and write 1667 words a day towards a monthly target. Now I sit down and write however many words I want towards a monthly target (one to four stories a month).

Wait…that sounds the same…

Anyway. I took the lessons from NaNoWriMo that I wanted, discarded the rest, and moved on. There’s no reason for me to go back.

It’s Great If You Agree With The Crowd

Uh-oh.

Pantsing is a stupid, ridiculously dismissive term. That doesn’t excuse me for being dismissive, even if I’m making a valid point.”

I like editing as I write. I don’t like soliciting critique group feedback. I like writing to deadlines. I don’t like spending endless hours on polishing. I like doing three drafts, each draft being 80% clean in 20% of the time (yes, this might leave typos). I don’t like debating plotting vs actually being creative, moron.

Got a little testy there. My bad.

Doing something the accepted, normal way is great if you want to be safe and secure, or if you don’t want to risk a loss. C’mon; as a writer you’re already taking risks, so I do get it if on the career side of things you want to do what’s work for plenty of others in the past.

I don’t think it’s worked that well in the long run.

I also think, as a Part-Time Writer, who doesn’t identify with some platonic ideal of Full-Time Author, it’s my duty to experiment in writing process, writing style, and in business decisions (Within reason. Like, c’mon now). so others can learn.

Figure Out What Works For You

It comes down to this: it’s your writing career (or writing hobby). Figure out what works for you, discard what doesn’t, and keep learning. November 1st through 30th might be the best time for you to learn, and NaNoWriMo the best structure. At least try it out.

After all, who know what will happen?


About the Author

Eli Jones is a BI Developer and speculative fiction writer living in the Columbia Gorge.