The first time I did NaNo, it was five years ago. I’d heard it was a thing but never really looked into it. But then I was a newly minted published author and I was like, man, I need to do this! I’m an author! Let’s go!
I had my brain engaged and I started writing as soon as the clock ticked over to November 1st. I came home from work every day and wrote. I wrote like a rockstar! And I wrote 51,000 words in ten days and had a finished book! I was amazing.
And every single word of it was garbage.
I spent the rest of the month trying to fix it, but I basically just….couldn’t. And that’s when I learned that my brain does not write this way. I need to adjust and change as I go. And I need to take breaks from a story and just figure out if what I’m writing is the right thing to write. I need to let things percolate in between. So while I can (and do!) write a lot of words in quick succession, the whole push behind NaNo isn’t what fuels me and I don’t produce quality words. And when I don’t start with something that’s close to what I want in the first place, it’s impossible for me to edit and tweak and fix and polish.
I tried it again the year before last with that in mind, just on my own, and worked in the way that I know I work best. But I didn’t complete the challenge and that felt like a failure, even knowing that any words at all is a win.
So I don’t NaNoWriMo. Because it doesn’t fit my process and my brain can’t let go of the feeling of failure when I don’t do what I should.
But to all you authors out there that do and can? Rock on! You’ve got this! You’re going to write amazing words this month, and we’re all looking forward to seeing those words in print. All the blood, sweat, tears, frustration, and joy will be worth it in the end. I’m cheering you on the sidelines.
Write on, writers!