Not Doing NaNo

Last time, I talked about being in a writing funk; about how I can’t seem to get going. I also listed a bunch of suggestions from my Twitter followers and members of 10-Minute Novelists suggested. One suggestion was to sign up for NaNoWriMo. (I’m sure most of you know what NaNo is, so I won’t bother explaining.)

First of all— to bring everyone up to speed— I’m still in my little funk, but mostly due to a lack of trying. So, I’ve got no one to blame but myself, even when I’ve been busy with events this month. It’s not as if I’m limited on time. I can find the time with all that’s going on to write; it’s a matter of taking advantage of that time and not allowing myself to be distracted or take part in distractions. 

So, as far as NaNo is concerned…

I should preface this by saying that participating in NaNo was one of my goals this year. So the suggestion from last week wasn’t that farfetched. And I have been wanting to try NaNo once in my writing career just to say that I did it. Whether I hit the goal of 50K words in thirty days or not is an afterthought. But that’s one reason why I’m not doing NaNo. Yes, the idea of writing so many words in so many days is an enormous task. Tracking those words equates to a lot of pressure. (If I’m not mistaken, writers are on an honor system when recording progress.) And missing a day means playing catch up, which from what I hear is not simple by any stretch. 

Another reason I’m not doing NaNo this year is simply this: I don’t have a story to write. By that, I mean I don’t have a novel brewing in my head. I have ideas, yes. But no coherent plan. Don’t have charactersor setting or plot or theme. I guess I could work all that out when I write, but I’m someone who has to have a plan and see it in full. I suppose having Scrivener would help with all that, but I’m a writer on a budget, like everyone else.

Bottom line: I’m unprepared to do NaNo. Sure, I had ten months to plan and plot and develop characters, but I squandered them and can’t get them back. But if I had to explain why I wasted all this time doing whatever instead of preparing, it all boils down to…wait for it… fear. 

The truth is I’m afraid to do NaNo. To elaborate, I’m afraid of what NaNo would mean. It would mean that I am a serious writer with a story to tell that I want the world to read. It would mean showing a chapter at a time to CPs, not knowing if they will like it or hate it. It means querying, not knowing if an agent will deem it worthy of the printed page. It means waiting months or years for editors and publishers to put the finishing touches on it, create books, and send it to bookstores, hoping someone will buy what I’ve poured years into. 

Of course, I’m thinking way too much and getting way ahead of myself. Whatever I just said may not happen. I won’t know if I don’t try. For now, I’m content with cheering on the sidelines, learning from everyone else’s experiences. In due time, I will participate in NaNo, and maybe, win. 

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Author: G. R. McNeese

I'm originally from Illinois, currently residing in Georgia. I graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing. I am blessed with a supportive wife and family.

5 thoughts on “Not Doing NaNo”

  1. I’ve written three full manuscripts and am working on a fourth. I am not and am never planning to do NaNo. The reason is I write organically. Some days I’ve got 3,000 words in me. Some days it’s all I can do to edit the last chapter. I don’t know how I feel about the value of something I’d write in 30 days. And really, it’s not 30 days at all. From all the info I’ve read on it, it takes a good 3 months of planning to do it well. In those three months, I might have finished my newest effort.

    So here’s one more writer who’ll be sitting on the sidelines — we can keep each other company!

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  2. Fear is a hard thing to get over. I’ve learned this year that I can only defeat fear by putting myself outside of the box and facing it head on. You are a writer. I’ve read your work. You need to call yourself a writer. I’m going NaNo, and I don’t have room in my schedule for it. I got to the point where I realized though that I could make excuses for not doing something I loved or I could go for it and face my fears head on!

    Everyone arrives at their destination at different points. Know you have my encouragement on your writing journey regardless of whether you do Nano this year or not.

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    1. Thank you, Lauren. I appreciate all the encouragement. Writing is what I love to do, and I hope to do this for a living. I struggled with doubt throughout this writing journey. It’s probably why I haven’t been as consistent as I should be in my writing. But maybe it’s also because I haven’t found the support I needed. I feel like I have that now. I feel like I can write with confidence.

      Liked by 1 person

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