Every one in my writing communities is asking me if I will be doing NaNoWriMo this year. For those that don’t know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that you start, and complete a novel in November. It is actually a great idea. Especially if you need a quick kick in the ass to get writing that novel you’ve been telling yourself you’d write for years.
I won’t be participating this year. When I tell my fellow authors that, they all want to know: Why? I can even hear some of them looking down upon me for my choice to exclude myself. So I put together my ten reasons why I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo. You may call them “excuses” but the word “reasons” makes me feel better about myself. Besides, every now and then I like to put something together that is a little tongue in cheek.
1. November is a production month for Plasma Frequency:
Yep, that is right. I run this magazine and Issue 3 has to be ready December 5th. That means that I will be spending much of my non-day job hours working on getting Plasma Frequency laid out and ready for print. Not to mention designing ads for the issue (you should get an ad to advertise the novel you finish during NaNoWriMo). And since I likely will be paying for most or all of Plasma Frequency‘s stories and artwork out of my own pocket, I’ll also need to pick up some extra hours at my day job.
2. I have to work my day job.
Believe it or not my writing doesn’t pay all my bills. I have to work a day job to try to pay my bills. A day job that doesn’t even pay enough to pay my monthly rent. So that also means I will be needing to pick up any extra hours I can. Since I have to pay my rent, phone, internet, power, water, and Plasma Frequency‘s running costs. In all, I have to put up a lot of hours at work to try to make ends meet. Those extra hours are all hours I normally reserve for writing, editing, and family time.
3. My family needs me too.
Yep, I am throwing them under the bus here. But it is true. And there are a lot of family events happening in November. My birthday and Thanksgiving being two of them. These are often all day events in my family so that means two more lost days in the tight schedule.
And since my birthday is in November, I don’t have to do NaNoWriMo. I think it is in the rules. If it isn’t in the rules, than I am adding it to my own personal NaNoWriMo rules.
4. I have volunteer commitments
I volunteer on the Board of Directors for my local soccer league. And, I coach in that league. And, two of my three boys play in that league. The season ends in November. So there are two year end parties to attend. And there is one weekend ate up to the end of season tournament. So there are four more days that NaNoWriMo can’t have.
5. I already started a Novel.
I have already started a novel. My second novel is already in the works. And in NaNoWriMo you are supposed to start and finish in November. So if I participated, I would be cheating. And no one likes cheaters. I could start the sequel for Dissolution of Peace, but I am not a person that can write two novels at once. I can edit one and write another. I can even write a short story while doing a novel. But I just can’t do two novels at once. It is my writing style.
6. I didn’t participate last year.
I didn’t do NaNoWriMo last year, in fact I have never done it. I don’t need to explain myself for past years, those are past years. But, I am far to busy to start something new in November.
7. I don’t want to sacrifice quality for speed.
I get that you don’t have to have a print ready manuscript by the end of November. The point is to have the first draft done. But the first draft is the foundation for that final manuscript. You have to have something to work with or the story is lost. At least that is my opinion. And as you can see I already have a lot of things taking up my time. I bet I probably could still throw 50,000 words down in the time I have left, but I don’t think they would be worth the paper, or disk space, they are written on. I would feel like I am sacrificing quality just to get it done on time because of my crowded schedule.
8. I don’t want to be another blogger spending all of November blogging about NaNoWriMo.
Every year the writing blogs fill up with constant talk about NaNoWriMo. Or even worse, they virtually shut down for a month. Both, I don’t wish to do. Sometimes my schedule is so crowded that these posts are the only writing I get done for weeks or months. And I don’t want to take a break for writing my novel, to tell you about how NaNoWriMo is going. I’d prefer to be the destination my followers can come to read a post or two that is away from the topic of NaNoWriMo. Don’t get me wrong, if you participate in NaNoWriMo, you may want to read about the progress of others. I just don’t feel like blogging about it, and/or not blogging for a month.
“But Richard,” you say. “You are blogging about NaNo right now.” To those people I say, this doesn’t count. It is still October.
9. I have a current novel to promote
We have established that my schedule is tight. Well, Dissolution of Peace needs to sell. And it won’t sell with out someone marketing it. That someone is me. My October sales have slowed drastically, and I hope to kick it into high gear for November and December. That means more free time used to find reviewers, advertising, and self marketing. Maybe even trying to set up a book signing or two. That all takes time. So rather then starting a third novel (just yet), I need to market the first one.
10. I have nothing to wear.
You heard me correctly. No one wants to see me sitting around naked in my office writing a novel. What does one wear to a virtual writing gathering anyway? Is it a virtual black tie? Or is virtual business casual okay? Perhaps a virtual suit is sufficient. That’s the thing, I simply don’t know. And to save myself the embarrassment, I simply won’t attend. Besides, I heard it was a Sadie Hawkins event and no one has asked me.
NaNoWriMo is a good thing
Sure, I am not attending. But NaNoWriMo is a great event. And perhaps one year I will be able to do it. But that year is not 2012. If you have time and want to do it, I suggest you check out the website. There is no better way to stimulate your writing glands and put together something great. If you are stalling to start writing, but just haven’t done it, NaNoWriMo is a great way to jump in. At the very least, check it out. Every year I do. And as I said before, one year I will do it.
Perhaps I will have my own personal NaNoWriMo. Who says November has to be the only month you write a novel in? If you are like me, perhaps you make January your month, or even July. And even though I joked about the NaNoWriMo related blogs, I tend to learn a lot more about writing when NaNo is going on than I do other times of year. Authors are always willing to help each other out. So even if you don’t participate, you are bound to learn something this November.