I honestly can’t remember the first time I tried NaNoWriMo. I think it was in 2004, which would make this the 15th year I make an attempt.
Now, I’ll be honest – most of those attempts have gone exactly nowhere. Some I’m pretty sure I quit on day one with less than 1,000 words. Others have net a bit more in terms of words and progress. But I’ve never won NaNoWriMo.
I’ve blogged about this before. You can read those posts here and here. And I stand by those lessons I’ve learned, and this is how they’re impacting me now that NaNoWriMo 2019 is arriving on Friday.
I’m Still Writing My Novel
That novel I started in 2018? It’s still going. I actually let my inner editor out of confinement last month and fixed up the draft. It had ballooned to almost 22,000 words and was still in a “prologue” of sorts (lol…), so I knew it needed some help if I was ever going to get it on track and actually move forward with my story.
So, I took a hatchet to it and cut 11,025 words. Half of the draft. Then I started working again. Now, it’s back up to 15,708 words and I’m in Chapter 6.
I am committed to this story and this draft, and I want to see it through to completion. But with NaNoWriMo’s siren song calling, I found myself less and less interested in working on it, and more and more drawn to other/different/”new” novel ideas.
I Was Letting the “Rules” Rule Me
See, the “rule” of NaNoWriMo is (supposedly) that you start a brand new project on November 1 and you write that project only so that by November 30, you have 50,000 words of a brand new novel.
And it’s a great rule. And it’s a great starting point for a lot of projects.
But…I already have a great starting point. I started it last November. What I need is a great rising action and climax and conclusion.
Now here’s the thing: I am a rules-follower. I always have been (except maybe when I was younger and would start to lose board games and would suddenly invent/introduce “house rules”…). But, that aside, I follow the rules. I kept telling myself if I was going to do NaNoWriMo, I was going to follow the rules.
But… I don’t want to start a new project. I want to keep writing my novel I started last November. I want to see it through to – at the very least – a finished first draft.
So, I’m Just Going to Keep Writing.
Yeah, I’ll still aim for 50K words in my novel in November. And if I actually write that much, yeah, I’m gonna consider myself a winner.
I thought doing this technically made me a NaNoWriMo Rebel, but apparently to actually be a “Rebel” you need to be writing a non-novel.
Whatever, I’m throwing all the rules out anyway. If I want to call myself a rebel, I’m calling myself a rebel!
Are You Writing This November?
You can be my buddy! Here’s my NaNoWriMo Profile.
Happy Writing, everyone!
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