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Why I Don’t NaNoWriMo No Mo (1 Viewer)

Odd Greg

Senior Member
I joined in NaNoWriMo on three different occasions. The timing (being as it is in November) was always a problem. If it had been MaNoWriMo or JuNoWriMo, then it might have been different. I simply never had time to belt out 50,000 words in the month of November.

It’s not that hammering out 50,000 unedited, stream of thought, unbridled word-flow is difficult. It really isn’t. But I don’t work in that manner. I generally write about 15,000 words (usually the entire work or just Act I) in a week, and then spend the next few weeks editing, rewriting, tossing things out, putting new things in; sometimes starting over from scratch. My latest work is on complete rewrite #3.

The purpose of NaNoWriMo is not lost on me, however. It is an excellent resource for its purpose, and a tool for learning to ‘just get the story on paper and worry about the details later’. This can be a quite useful method for alleviating writer’s block, and for not getting lost in the weeds part way through.

My soul just doesn’t work like that. I usually write a short story that tells the general tale, and then decide if it’s worth expanding later. If I decide to expand it, then forcing a 30-day deadline and a word count isn’t going to help the process at all; for me, at any rate.

My last attempt at NaNoWriMo resulted in 16,000 words that began going off kilter in the first 10 days. I realized then that the story wasn’t going to work – at all. I moved on to something else. Sure, that was valuable time well spent, but not the purpose or function of NaNoWriMo. Not in my view. I suppose it also doesn’t help that I’m not very competitive. I’ve little interest in bulk, speed, or awards.

So, I don’t NaNoWriMo no mo’. It isn’t for my disposition or for me. But don’t let me sway you from getting involved. It is excellent for its purpose, so long as you go in knowing what that purpose is, and are willing to dedicate your time to it.
 

shadowwalker

WF Veterans
I tried and failed at Nano as well - I edit as I go and I just can't not do that. And frankly, I think Nano is really just to get people to start and finish something, to get them over that hurdle. I don't need to worry about that, so there's really no point for me. But it's helpful for a lot of people, and just plain fun for a lot more. Just not my cup of tea.
 

Tiamat

Patron
I attempted NaNo twice. The first time, I got about 20,000 words in, but halfway through November I moved back home. Because there were suddenly so many things to do that I hadn't done or seen in two years, I promptly ignored my WiP and went out and had fun. The second time I tried, I won. I'll never be able to do anything with the 50,000 words I wrote that month, but I did have fun writing them. For me, it was more about the camaraderie, rather than the writing. I'd do it again if I had the time, though.
 

Odd Greg

Senior Member
First drafts don't have to be crap. You can edit as you write. You don't have to outline. You do have to find the method that works best for you - not the other guy.

Hi shadowwalker, and thanks for the reply. I wanted to respond to the last paragraph of your signature, if that is acceptable.

I agree with it entirely. Mainly, though, I don't think about what other people may do when writing - other than a natural fascination with how people go about producing some of those amazing books and articles. It's a general love of the subject, I think.

That said, I do go about things in an organized manner, but only after I have hammered out a quick treatment. Incidentally, I almost always edit as I go along, but only to a degree. I will burn through what I know of the story so far, then re-read that and make changes. After I am comfortable with the subject, I will begin writing an overview of the story - in parts. I then refer back to this as I write. As you say, it works for me.

As for the first draft not having to be crap; if it's crap (and sometimes even the best of authors write crap) then it's a good idea to abandon it. This is another thing I do. I do not cherish my words, no more than I cherish a hammer, but I do love words in general; so much so that I don't mind starting over. What I mean is that some first drafts earn their keep not by being particularly good, but by organizing the mind, clarifying the story, and revealing the world and characters. Then - perhaps because I am ruthless - I may throw it away and begin again. I've no limit to the reservoir of words I have to draw upon.

But, I do like your signature comment. It's true. We need to find what works for us, and not get bogged down by trying to do what someone may say is the correct thing to do. One thing is paramount, however - if what we do isn't working, then change it; fearlessly.
 

Odd Greg

Senior Member
Hi Tiamat,

Sadly, I am generally quite a loner, so I don't engage with others very often. I'm trying to amend this fault in my personality. When I did join NaNoWriMo, it was at the suggestion of a couple of good friends of mine, so that was the extent of my camaraderie - which was quite fun. The process wasn't right for me, but I don't attempt to paint anyone else into my corner. I think the people there are dedicated and enlightened. Although the site did have a bad habit of being incredibly slow the last time I used it. Goes with the territory, no doubt.
 

philistine

Senior Member
It seems to me that most of the writers who aim to 'win' the contest just type 50,000 words of unprocessed dross, then throw their arms in the air when they claim they've completed their first 'novel'.

I can appreciate the fact that it may get an undisciplined 'wet behind da' ears' newbie to adopt some sort of routine, though it does little else.
 

Staff Deployment

WF Veterans
It's a little late for me to do that, plus it might have been the pinnacle of a very bad idea. It was my mother, rest her soul.

:oops: Sorry, mate.

I don't actually endorse punching people, by the way—just that it's a terrible mindset to believe something's wrong with you if you're not constantly seeking the attention of others.

Aaaaanyway NaNoWriMo. Tried it three times, won twice. The first winning book eventually got torn into shreds and recycled (metaphorically), and I've never touched the second one again. I probably won't be competing this year but that's mainly due to other obligations during November.
 

shadowwalker

WF Veterans
I think the thing I hear mostly about it (other than the fun of joining in the community thing) is that it 'forces' people to finish. And I have to agree that for many wannabe writers, getting over that hurdle can do wonders - the idea that "I did it once, I can do it again", even if they use some other method.
 

Jeko

WF Veterans
I have never wanted to try it and never will. I have learnt that I write best when I write slowly, and my birthday is in November.
 

Odd Greg

Senior Member
:oops: Sorry, mate.

Don't give it a second thought. Truth be known, I lived in a Tennessee Williams play most of my childhood and into high school, although it was probably more like Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Bless her soul and all, but my mother was the product of some very bad choices. It's hard to not be introverted in a household of berating, screaming, and boozing parents whose marriage was disintegrating for the entire community to see.
 

Sara Haasis

Senior Member
I finished it one year and have a 70,000-high pile of words I can't use.

I think the thing I hear mostly about it (other than the fun of joining in the community thing) is that it 'forces' people to finish. And I have to agree that for many wannabe writers, getting over that hurdle can do wonders - the idea that "I did it once, I can do it again", even if they use some other method.

But maybe there is something to this. I was knocking out 10k words a day which at least I can now say I'm capable of. With a different story it may have gone a lot better.
 

Arrow

Senior Member
A lot of people I know in the NaNoWriMo forums do it for a sense of accountability. The same way people join a weight loss program, the motivation is what they need tto stay on task. It helps me get back in the routine of making time to write everyday. (the last two years being an exception, pregnancy makes my brain pudding.)
 

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
...the idea that "I did it once, I can do it again", even if they use some other method.

I felt such a sense of achievement when I completed the NaNoWriMo challenge - it was definitely a "I did it once, so I can do it again" moment :)
 
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Odd Greg

Senior Member
A lot of people I know in the NaNoWriMo forums do it for a sense of accountability. The same way people join a weight loss program, the motivation is what they need tto stay on task. It helps me get back in the routine of making time to write everyday. (the last two years being an exception, pregnancy makes my brain pudding.)

If it helps, then it's a good thing.
 

Leyline

Honoured/Sadly Missed
WF Veterans
I'm actually considering doing it this year, just to get out of the self imposed rut that's seen me re-drafting stories to a ridiculous degree. I'm getting to the point where I don't even want to post them in the Workshop. In short, I'm turning into Mr. Bean:

[video=youtube;RdZERM7zEHk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RdZERM7zEHk[/video]
 

movieman

Senior Member
I'm going to use it as justification to finally get my 'Horror Movie' novel finished. I think it was at about 17,000 words when I last touched it, so about 50,000 still to go.
 
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