The Curse of NANOWRIMO

by RS on December 15, 2010

It’s been two weeks since my bittersweet victory of completing 50,000 words in one month, and if you’re wondering why I’ve been so quiet, I’ll tell you why: major burnout. Like the Emperor Joseph II, I feel as if there were too many words put down in November. Between NANO and HAND/EYE, I simply ran out of what to write; the circuits in my brain were fried.

I’ve tried to post numerous times here, and each time I wrote a paragraph or two I wasn’t satisfied with what I wrote. The flow of words seemed to have been dammed (or maybe I was damned?) Finally, today I got a spark of an idea and decided to run with it.

In a previous post, I mentioned the controversy of NANOWRIMO among writers. Is it a worthwhile exercise or not? I took a wishy-washy approach and sat on the fence. Now, after some contemplation, my thoughts are that unless you approach NANOWRIMO with a fully developed outline, the effort really isn’t worthwhile. In my case, I knew how the story started and ended, but I didn’t know how to reach the conclusion. Thus the challenge became more in the realm of spewing words and not telling a story. And frankly, my time would have been better used working on Julius.

So now I am recuperating, and that involves a lot of reading. After this next issue of the online version of HAND/EYE Magazine, I will have two weeks off. It’s a much needed rest. However, I plan to use this precious time in an effective manner with Julius that includes major revisions, overhauling the second part of the story completely–and that includes outlining–and trying to write new material everyday.

That’s all for now. I hear Julius calling me.

4 comments
netta
netta

I attempted NaNo once -- in 2004. This was before I had my very own computer, and I did it on yellow legal pads and a pen (you know, those round things with ink in them? Yeah. One of those). I did not win that year. I crapped out at about 26k. Ever since then I have felt the pull every year to try it again now that I have the technological means to do so, and every year I find a reason not to participate.

I think it is great that some people get so much out of it, but I found the recovery time not worth it, not to mention the material I wrote that month was abysmal. It's just not a format that works for me, and *that's okay!* I further think part of the appeal of NaNo is that of community -- let's face it, writing can be lonely work, and it's much more fun (and distracting) to have a pack to interact with. Like I said, the format just doesn't work for me, but more power to those who have found success with it.

Alex
Alex

I have to say that I always viewed NANOWRIMO with a jaundiced eye. I just feel that if you're serious about writing, no amount of artificial deadline is necessary. Though I respect people who do use that deadline to their advantage to get words on paper, I find it unproductive in creating serious work. There, now that I sound like a big old jerky snob, I should add that anything that gets people off their duffs and writing is worthwhile if it instills the habit of writing every day. ;-)

RS
RS

Netta,

Thanks for stopping by! This was my second attempt. The first one I was short by seven thousand words, and it's the work it actually the novel I'm still working on. This second one, I made it past the 50K and I used it as a break from the WIP. I won't be doing it again, but I have learned more about the craft and what I need to do become a better writer. I don't need a community to cheer me on, I just need the discipline to write everyday.

RS
RS

Alex,

Thanks for stopping by! Yeah, I've come to that conclusion too. I write for a living so I have to do it every day. But I also have to work on the novel daily too. No artificial deadlines. Just my own real one. Hopefully, I'll be done with Julius by late spring 2011!

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