It’s the 8th of October, and like some female, writerly version of John Snow, I feel the need to say in a deep gravelly, voice, ‘November is coming.’
Because it is. In 23 days the calendar will change, men will stop shaving, and every single writer I know (#exaggerationfont), will start typing novels as if their very lives depended on it.
That’s right, folks, it’s almost NANOWRIMO time.
I did Nanowrimo for the first time last year, and it was amazing. So amazing. For 21 days I was in this lovely world where I wrote hard and fast, and when I wasn’t writing, I was dreaming about writing, thinking about writing, and randomly hi-fiving myself in odd situations, as I figured out how the next scene needed to go. At the end of those three weeks, I had a 120 000 word manuscript all done and dusted, and ready for editing.
Fast forward almost 12 months and I’m still on my second draft. Because while the first draft was bashed out quickly and enthusiastically, this second draft needs a more methodical process. Each word is being analysed; each sentence put under the microscope. I’m looking for errant apostrophes as well as unsupported plot lines. I’ve discovered that some characters are too whiny and some too perfect; some need far more pages, while others need significantly less. (Also I am an obsessive fan of semi-colons and need to cut back on them — it’s an illness I tell you.) I’ve so far removed 20 000 words and replaced them with about 10 000 different ones. While I spent three weeks last year writing the entire manuscript, I’ve spent three weeks this year rewriting my first chapter 52 times. I think I’m happy with it. For now.
And you know what? I still love it. I’m still insanely happy. This story is so much better now than it was 12 months ago, and hopefully will only continue to get better. I’m so committed to hanging Ariana out to dry (and then saving her again), that I think about it almost daily, and hope for a spare half an hour to rewrite to my heart’s delight.
Which brings me to my conundrum…
To nano this year or not?
I really want to. Like seriously want to. Facebook is lighting up with notifications from bloggers and the two Nano groups I’m in. Discussions are being had about plotting versus pantsing, and what to do with the finished work. There are discussions about what people will write, and past projects. Bec is sending me messages saying, ‘do it.’ (Actually she’s not saying that at all, but I’m sure that’s what she means. 😉 )
And the thing is, I have an idea. Have had for a while. An idea I would love to write; a story I’m desperate to explore, and I will write one day. But is this November the time?
Because more than I want to smash out another manuscript, I actually want to do justice to the one I’ve written. I’ve been reading Paullina Simons latest book Lone Star, and it’s one of her best. (And I’ve read most of her stuff.) I read it and turn into Three Doors Down, (literary character to 90’s pop band), and am all ‘If I could be like that…’ Because the chick gets words. And people, and writing words about people. And I can’t help but think that if I just keep plugging away at this manuscript, maybe I too can write in just that way. With words about people.
And not to mention, Nanowrimo is time-consuming and mind consuming. And I have Tafe and assignments about sharks, and a short story about a high-strung police officer in an interrogation room. (It’s so much fun.) I also have those four kiddies and a husband to look after, which tends to keep me rather busy.
There are so many reasons to not Nano this year. So many reasons to wait for a better time. So many reasons to just focus on the very full plate that I already have.
I really want to.
So what do I internets?
To Nano or not: That is the question.
Are you participating in Nanowrimo this year?