But writers around the world are already preparing for November and the month-long party that is National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo as participants affectionately call it.) For one whole month, they will put their lives on hold and focus on a single goal: To write an entire novel in thirty days.
In the past, I have joyfully signed up for the challenge. I love to write first drafts and what could be more fun than to do it with the support of 200,000 other writers? The NaNo site has tons of tips and programs to keep participants motivated and on track. Local groups get together and compete to keep things interesting. It’s everything a writing celebration should be.
So why aren’t I joining in this year?
Although I’ve participated in NaNo three times, I have never even come close to “winning” or writing the required 50,000 words during the contest. Oh, I’ve written entire first drafts in a month before, but never during November.
November is family time. Winter days are short, and there’s Thanksgiving to prepare for. I can’t ignore housework for a month when relatives are coming from out of town to visit. My kids will have at least a week off school for the holiday, and they usually catch a winter virus or two. Despite my best efforts, the season will take its toll. My word counts will fall flat and before I know it, I’ll be hopelessly behind.
Failing at NaNo leaves me feeling burned out and exhausted.
Over the years, I’ve come to the conclusion that NaNoWriMo was never intended for people like me. It must be wonderful for those who live alone. But for those who have children at home, work long hours, or care for chronically ill relatives, it can be very discouraging.
As much as I love National Novel Writing Month, I think it would be healthier for me to write a little bit each day than to try to cram it all into one month-long writing binge.
I would love to hear your ideas on NaNoWriMo. Will you participate? If so, how will you juggle writing and family demands? If you’ve decided not to participate, why not? Would you be more likely to do NaNo, if it happened at some other time of year?