Why my Nanowrimo novel is trying to kill me

This is my fifth year participating in Nanowrimo, the insanity of trying to write a whole 50,000 word novel from start to finish in one month. Every year, my enthusiasm lasts for about the first week and then life and work and planning for my annual Thanksgiving feast cooking gets in the way and I slump off somewhere in the 10,000’s, glad to have tried, but not really any further along.

This year, I decided, would be different. I have encouragement about my writing under my belt. I’ve read reams of “how to write” books which have finally beat into my brain that sometimes it is just better to throw lots of words on the page and edit them later, rather than painstakingly try to craft the Great American Novel word by word. My inner editor likes to take lots of coffee breaks while writing, which slows down my usual process even more and it comes down to me whining about how a 5,000 word short story takes forever  to write so a novel would be impossible.

This year, I admit, I fell off track again last week. I dropped off in the 10,000’s and now have 20,000 words to write by Wednesday to get back on track. But, this year, I really want to win. I want to be able to say, “It may be crap, but I wrote a novel once.” And really, that’s something. Even if not a word of the thing ever reaches the light of day, I could use the practice of forcing vast quantities of words out onto the page come hell or high water, with or without inspiration.

So, I’ll try and get a few posts pre-written and up for all of you this week, but if not, forgive me. I’m writing the Mediocre American Novel (20,000 words of it) and I’m on a deadline. Even if all the main characters have to try to solve the meaning of life for a few pages each to kill those words, they are going on a page. If penguins, aliens, and pirates have to have a battle royale for the future of the planet in the midst of my  literary fiction, so be it. If Elvis has to come back to life and write a long ballad to a woman who reminds him of Marilyn Monroe while wearing bunny slippers, let it be so. And on that note, I’m off to see what Elvis and the aliens are up to- and I don’t have any words to waste.

If I win this year, I am SOOOO buying the motorcycle boots to stomp out my victory in. And then I’m gonna bore everyone at the bar with my tales of novelling victory over a bourbon. Possibly while wearing some sort of crown. Hmmm…. maybe my novel needs a beauty pageant? See you soon- I’m writing….



Filed under Daily Life, Writing

5 responses to “Why my Nanowrimo novel is trying to kill me

  1. A month is just not enough time to do anything of quality if you actually have a job.

    I would compare it to exercise. You can’t lose 50 lbs in a month, you have to pace yourself and change your lifestyle. Set up a place and a time and devote “X” hours a week to doing something like this. When unrealistic goals are set…disappointment follows.

  2. Girl, I feel you on the “this year it’ll be different” thing.

    I don’t even have 2k words. -.-

    I think I’ve given up this year seeing as how I haven’t written a single thing in two weeks, but I may still surprise myself.

    I hope you win, so we can see the boots and the bourbon and the crown. Documentation of those sorts of things is necessary don’t you know.

  3. Stick with it. You can do it. I’m around 21,000 words and I may not make it to 50,000, but I’m gonna try.

    It is really hard with work, and all the stuff you mention.

    I pad my word count with dialog. Lots and lots of dialog.

  4. I google for something else, but ended up on your blog anyways. I’m also participating in the nanowrimo this year, for the first time. I just went above 40.000 words, and are really starting to hate my novel now. But I’m gonna keep going, and I’m not gonna give up – partly thanks to your blog entry. So, thanks for the inspiration! I hope your novel works our great this year too!

    Best regards,

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