Amber Skye Forbes

Writing Words With the Tips of My Toes

NaNoWriMo and Why I Can’t Participate

nanowrimoThat time of year is here again–well, it’s always here. NaNoWriMo! I have never done NaNoWriMo because I have always been engaged in other writerly endeavors. I am a one book at a time person. Just because I’m outlining a book as I’m writing another doesn’t mean I’ll be writing that book once the outline is done. Instead of being able to participate in NaNo this year, I will be working on The Stars Are Infinite and will be getting back to When Heaven Was Blue.

That being said, I once participated in ViNoWrimo, which was Vicious Writing Month, back when the Vicious Writing group had a publishing company before going under due to poor management. So, take notice small presses: poor management will do you in. Big time. In any case, we were all supposed to write this one book in a month, and the best book received a contract. I didn’t win. I was still green at the time, but I will tell you it was about a 19th century girl giving sexual favors to a much older man in exchange for receiving money to go to university, as going to university was taboo in that day for women. I’ll probably get back to it, because I want to write a Victorian drama, but it will be more mature–still YA, of course, but possibly pushing NA boundaries.

Of course, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to participate in NaNoWrimo.

Guys, I don’t know how authors do it. I can see how self-published authors are able to do it because they can set their own deadlines and change them as they see fit, but with traditional or small press authors, I don’t see how it’s possible. We’re always working on the next novel that we want to be published. Do some authors plan their NaNo novel in advance and eventually want to publish it down the road somewhere? Or is NaNo just a chance for them to let loose? I practically have a NaNo all the time, because when I start a novel, it takes generally a month for me to draft, only because I have a thorough outline. Revisions, of course, take longer, and they should.

Here are a few comments from writers who will be participating in NaNo this year:

Katie Harder-Schauer: I’m participating in NaNo this year. My book is going to be an apocalypse novel.

Jennifer Castillo: Yup! I am. Year two, here I come! Book tagline: She is out for revenge…against those who forgot her name.

Mariah E. Wilson: Part of me REALLY wants to, but I want to finish Pitbully, and I don’t think I can be effective at doing both. I have an idea that I’m mapping out in my head…just in case (but it’s a secret).

Amy Carlson: I’m doing NaNo this year! I have a bit of an outline done, but I’m sure I’ll end up pantsing a large portion of it.

Wanndering: I guess Nano is the kind of push amateur and aspiring writers need to finish their novels. I know it is for me.

And a funny comment from my publisher, just cause. It was in response to sending in The Stars Are Infinite in to him in December.

Raymond Vogel: I was wondering if you were getting me anything for Christmas.

So are you guys doing NaNo this year? What are your plans? Do you outline or pants it? If you’re an author, how do you make time for NaNo? If you’re a writer, what does NaNo do for you?

Tomorrow my blog post will be very simple. It simply consists of a contest I have been entered in to that I hope you will all vote on When Stars Die.

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5 comments on “NaNoWriMo and Why I Can’t Participate

  1. verandiva
    November 2, 2013

    I participated in NaNo 2 years ago in an attempt to start writing again. It was a great experience to get me out of a creative rut but also very stressful because of the deadline. Somehow I met the 50,000 word goal but I have yet to finish my novel.

    All I used was a very simple outline containing character names and situations I wanted to include as the plot unfolded. Other than, I was mainly improvising.

    I was thinking of signing up again as a push to finally complete it this month but life has gotten in the way. Instead, I hope to add to my novel (whether it’s a few paragraphs or a page) daily to keep the story fresh on my mind.

  2. Allison
    November 2, 2013

    I suspect that National Novel Writing Month is mostly for those of us whose novel is yet to be published. Actually, many people whom I meet are actually doing it just for fun, without any thought of publication. As such, it’s the equivalent of an annual vacation.

    Even for those of us who are doing for more serious reasons, it’s still hard to give ourselves regular license to take time away from our family and jobs simply on the hope that one day we will get printed. It’s not so hard though to ask for one month in a year.

    An interesting thing might be to find out is how many people stick with National Novel Writing Month after that first novel sell. That said, I know there are professional writers who have competed in National Novel Writing Month, because their pep talks help fill the IN boxes of participants during November. I have also met them on writing boards. Their experiences have helped me make National Writing Month a more practical experience for me.

    As for me, I fall into the category of wanting to publish a novel but not yet being there. As such, National Novel Writing Month pushed me last year to write the first draft. I then spent a year improving my skills. This time around, National Novel Writing Month will be about getting that second draft done, which I know is the way some professional authors use it. Otherwise, the rough draft could drag out for months and months, because I don’t have a contract waiting on it.

    What happens next year if I’m still revising my novel? I don’t know that a third fast rewrite would be the best approach because, by the third draft, I need to be slowing down. I also don’t think starting a second novel, with the first incomplete, would be a good idea. Then I run the risk of never finishing any one project. So, I understand your issues with National Novel Writing Month. Right now though, I’m loving the motivation and discipline that the month provides. And so I am an eager participant!

  3. Dianna L. Gunn
    November 2, 2013

    This year will be my ninth Nano, and I’ve won every time except for once. I always clear the month as much as possible of non-Nano obligations to make the extra time, and since I’m currently not published (woe is me) I don’t have publishers breathing down my neck about other projects. That said, Nanowrimo is such a huge part of who I am–I won my first Nano at 11, and it was the first novel I ever wrote–that I’ll always make time for it, regardless of anybody else’s deadlines for me.

    That said, I don’t judge anyone for not participating, especially if they’re still doing their own writing projects, and I hope you have a great November too 🙂

  4. Christine Kohler
    November 4, 2013

    I have never participated in Nano-whatever it’s called. (Isn’t Nano nano what Robin Williams used to say when he was a space alien?) I’m glad to hear you say you don’t participate either and why. I thought I was the only one and I just sort of hang out quietly in my bat cave and peck away at keys during this time, not counting words, mind you. So thank you for being brave and admitting it.

    btw, you asked about the whole pantser-plotter thing. I do both. And contrary to what Vonnegut said about gender determining whether one is a sweeper or editor, I’m more editor so I write recursively.

    Christine Kohler
    NO SURRENDER SOLDIER, Jan. 18, 2014, Merit Press (Adams Media/ F+W Media)

  5. gregorylambpdxauthor
    November 5, 2013

    I’m giving it a miss this year…I think…even though I have a sequel to an earlier work burning to get out, I’ve got a need to take a break this season. Best of luck to all who are currently writing furiously!

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