November 1st was gone before I knew it. Yet in the back of my head, if I’m totally honest, I was kind of pretending I didn’t remember that November 1st marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo.
A mix of uneasiness as if I had missed something important and relief knowing this ‘lapse’ was my business bothered me.
In the fall, when good resolutions look as crisp as a new back-to-school outfit I had no doubt I would write the draft of a new novel in November.
I have done it twice and the drafts gave birth to one published novel (Trapped in Paris) and to another one almost completely revised.
So what happened?
The pressure and the cheerleading kind of support built around the event didn’t talk to me. Maybe, I wondered, it is like with anything new. The novelty wears off and interest wanes. In the past less people participated. Maybe, I thought, I liked it better when the event was small and carried some kind of secret bond between the participants.
This year more branches grew out of the original NaNoWriMo. Writers of nonfiction have their own event. Picture book writers make up their own version.
But as much as I am in favor of challenges – I set them for myself in different aspects of my life including mountain hikes and even baking – the more I write the less I think that writing can be done in a designated time frame.
As much as I need occasional writing competitions, which push me to write around a theme and deadline, I felt panicky at the idea of writing a draft in a month.
What’s up with you?
The pressure had been a real motor and revved my productivity to the max. Yes to 2 000 words a day. Yes to 50 000 in thirty days.
In the past I had also enjoyed the fact that other people were participating.
And I didn’t like it as much this year.
What’s wrong with you?
You like people in general and writers in particular.
What I think I perceived this year – everything in life is after all a question of perception – is the artificial aspect of the event.
Writing remains a solitary task. And all the peep talk cannot change the fact that every writer faces the same fear and excitement and anxiety and thrill each time she or he sits down to write.
It can feel reassuring to know that other men and women are writing 50 000 words from November 1st to the 30th, but in the end you are ultimately alone to do it.
Aren’t you a little blasé and cynic?
Perhaps. And I certainly don’t want to discourage anyone who is doing NaNoWriMo. As I said I have been a participant and enjoyed being part of the event. If you are considering the option – November 3rd isn’t too late – go ahead, enjoy the ride and be proud of your accomplishment.
Maybe I will enter again but for this year I opted against.
And yes, I am relieved from the pressure, from my friends’ questioning my progress and from simply not having to write 50 000 words.
And yes, there is uneasiness lingering inside me as I had missed something important.
My husband who never understood NaNoWriMo said, “Told you it was weird.”
I didn’t tell him about NaBloPoMo.