Donna Everhart

It’s That Time Again

Many writers are wrapped up in the frenzy of meeting their 50K word goal for this year’s challenge.  You know what I’m talking about.  I blogged about it last year too, and my thoughts on NaNoWriMo in this blog post somewhere towards the bottom.  The funny thing is this time seems like it would have been perfect.  Perfect as in I’ve finished another project and feel ready to start another.  What better kick in the pants than to commit oneself to slamming out 50K words in 30 days?

I don’t know why I just can’t bring myself to sign up.  Okay, yes I do.  Here’s why:

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, PANTSTER.  What has that got to do with anything?  It means that even though I’m ready to start another project, I’m clueless, make that clueless, about the story.  I’ve had some ideas and I’ve tossed them aside.  I do have one that is sort of a mish-mash of half baked ideas.  It came to me the other day when I saw that guy get arrested in the disappearance of the Virginia student, Hannah Graham.
  2. My characters aren’t in my head enough to write about them.  In the last project, this took months to come about.  Not days.  I’ve downloaded one of those questionnaires that’s supposed to help develop your character’s personality traits, etc, but all I can do is sit and stare at it like I used to do those quizzes in Geometry.
  3. And…this:


These stacks of paper are my three completed novels.  (I love looking at them)    The first one took the longest because it was done in bits and pieces.  I had eighty pages and only eighty pages for a long time.  I want to say about ten years.  I would pull it out and work on it, only to get bogged down by my real job and not touch it again for a while.  Sometimes it wasn’t the job, it was just me.  Me thinking it was a dumb idea, me thinking it would never get done, and me telling me that I had no idea where the story was going anyway, so what was the point?  You know the drill.  All that and more.  But, it did get done.  And it was the story that got my contract with my agent – so, there’s that.  The second one I think I wrote on sheer nervous energy and anxiety.  Five months – that was it.  Start to finish.  The last one took eighteen months, with one godawful false start thrown in just to ensure I wasn’t getting too cocky about this writing thing.  A complete do over.

The point is, I’ve got my way of doing this, and we all know about that old superstition with writers and their craft.  Don’t monkey around with what works.  Or something like that.

But, I’m tempted.

I’m tempted to try, even though I didn’t sign up.  Heck, I could make up for lost time and still make the goal.  Or, even if I didn’t – maybe I’d get at least 20K.  That’s nothing to sneeze at.  It’s more than today.   Under the “official NaNoWriMo” count, a writer needs almost 1,700 wpd.  What if I decided to go for broke and hit that for the next 25 days? 42500. (!!!)  Half way home.  Sure, it might be a hot mess, but I’ve heard the stories of finding the nuggets of gold, and we all have to start from something.  Even if it’s writing like a fiendish fool, don’t we do that most days anyway?  The difference here and a hard habit for me to break is to not go back and edit for days on end before adding new.

What about you?  Are you sitting on the sidelines, kinda, sorta wishing you were five days done with 7,500 words to the good? 

18 thoughts on “It’s That Time Again”

  1. NaNoWriMo didn’t work for me when I tried. I think it’s because in hadn’t formed anything near a habit for daily writing at the time and it was too much all at once. Maybe if I had some decent, almost daily writing going on, NaNoWriMo would push me into a daily habit and get me somewhere!

    1. This makes sense to me, Jennine, cause, you know…well, yet another running analogy coming …

      Because, if you’ve not been writing regularly, to jump into NaNoWriMo would be like deciding to run a road race today when all you’ve been doing is sitting on the couch. I do think it takes getting into that disciplinary mode and schedule.

  2. Do it! Even if you don’t make 50k, you’ll have more words than when you started. That’s my writer-positive outlook on something which is supposed to be positive and about getting yourself writing anyway.

    I’m also a pretty much total Pantser, and might have to swap ideas midstream. It’s an idea I’d had before, you see, and would really LIKE to write it…but it’s not coming as easy as I’d like.

    1. This is where my superstition kicks in and I don’t tell you I’m doing it b/c that might jinx me, but ask me at the end of the month what my word count is. 🙂

  3. Actually, I think I could come up with the goods but my hands couldn’t take it. I’m like a runner with overused-bad legs worn down to the nub from too many hills and cheap shoes. At least that’s my excuse.

    1. From what I recall, you’ve already got a lot going on anyway. Last thing you need is a new project – however – if you’re suffering from some arthritis (?) you ought to try that Blue Emu stuff. I love it.

  4. I refuse to slow down to 50,000 words in a month, at least right now.
    I’m currently putting out a 30,000 word story every month, that’s complete, two drafts, plus proofing, formatting and publishing, and they’re selling well with decent reviews blabla. And i’m getting a LOT of other stuff done too — at least when I’m manic. When depressed, I stuggle just to get the story down each month, leave it to the last week and write it then, stressing myself stupid. There is something wrong with me.

    But what Suzy’s doing, that’s just nice. I could be sane doing that. I think. Maybe. Maybe not. Okay, I couldn’t. But I love the idea of it.

    1. Holy shit, Mr. ipants… “slow down??? To 50,000 words in a month???” Well, Igotta give it to you, you’ve always sounded so productive. I can be when I know what the hell I want to write about… therein lies the problem. No. Idea. Even that mish-mash I’ve mentioned…nope. Not gonna write that story. So, as of this morning I’ve got my title page and Chapter One. Tada! Not. It’s almost like just “talking” about it, has stagnated all thoughts and ideas.

      1. But I’m only that productive while I’m manic, which feels great at the time, but can be very unpleasant for those around me. Can’t recommend it…
        And it’s only simple genre fiction, not what I consider to be my “real” work.
        Still, it’s great fun to write this genre stuff, and I’ve found it has a wonderful side-effect — it’s making me a better writer, and ideas are coming thick and fast foe my real books too. Knocking out a fast genre novella or two is something I CAN highly recommend. It’s helped me a lot. Also, money. Another pleasant and unexpected side-effect…

      2. I hear you about the manic side and how that drives your work, while perhaps driving those around you a bit looney. Hey, there’s got to be a bit of compromise all around, right? I mean if your work is making $’s which in turn puts food on the table… let the man get a little manic, I say!

        I can also relate to the idea of your novella’s contributing to your real work. All writing is good, so I’ve come to learn. 🙂

  5. Well, I’m sure you recall my thoughts on NaNoWriMo, so I can proudly say I don’t have word-one written for it. I’ve been in a creative slump for months, barely getting ANY writing done. I’m not happy about it, but then, I don’t think I’m happy in general. Maybe I should write about that.

    1. I have come to the conclusion, writers are all in with NaNoWriMo, or not so much. Some (like Averil shared above regarding Suzy’s ) will do a lightweight version of it.

      You mentioned being a bit stagnant on your writing, and I think there’s nothing more draining than to want to do something yet not having the energy or desire. lt can really weigh you down. Question – when you run, do you run alone or with a friend/or group? If you usually run with others, maybe run alone. I run alone – so I can think. It doesn’t always pay off, but it has helped me with some of my writing dilemma’s more than not.

      Otherwise, writing about being unhappy isn’t a bad idea. I already know of one writer whose made a “name” for himself writing about being an unhappy sort.

      1. I nearly always run alone, mostly because I am too slow to keep up with most people, at least over distance. I find that I sometimes have unbidden “epiphanies” about my stories on my runs. (My bad run yesterday morning helped me, nonetheless, work out the controlling metaphor of my latest story a bit more.) I think maybe running lets me clear my mind (and just focus on the agony of running) and ideas can more easily slip in to surprise me. It doesn’t always happen that way, but it seems to happen enuf to believe there is a connection.

  6. I signed up, but I have to admit, I have been a bit slack, with only 6K to show for the first week.

    It really helps to be a plotter when one writes, as I always know what’s coming next.

    My roadblock is whether or not this project is as important as other projects I’ve got on the go. I have two other novels that need editing so they’re ready to go. Do I really want to pause that project just because it’s November?

    I honestly have no idea if I’ll make the 50K this year or not. I can do it. I’m a quick writer and my draft gets cleaner every novel.

    But should I do it?

    1. Whoop! I’d be totally happy with 6K – honestly. And for the two other books ready for editing…, I’m not sure how long you’ve gone without looking at them? You know, ala Stephen King, where you don’t look at them for months? Maybe November is the perfect time for more space from your current work. If you are getting better about a cleaner draft each time – and you have a good solid story idea for NaNo, what’s three more weeks away from editing – you know?

      Good luck with whatever you do! And…how awesome to have two completed drafts -regardless!

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