Monday, October 19, 2015

To NaNo, Or Not To NaNo...

...that is the question.

November is NaNoWriMo month. And for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, I'll just say that NaNoWriMo is a worldwide event for writers to challenge each other to write 50,000 words in the month of November, which comes out to just under 1,700 words a day.

For years, I thought about participating, but I never took the plunge. I finally did in 2012. Amazingly, I surpassed my goal and "won." In 2013, I somehow managed to also win, despite studying for a VERY difficult professional certification exam at the end of the month.

Last year, I got to around 22,000 words and burned out. I struggled, I fought, and I lost. My fellow NaNo'ers in my region remained supportive, and I gave myself a pat on the back for trying.

Honestly, I still haven't recovered from that burn out. Not sure what happened. But I wrote very little after that November of 2014, and my slump continued into 2015. I took some time off of work during the holidays, so I did get back to writing in January. My creative spurt continued into February. But then I had nothing left in the tank.

I really have no explanation for this. I do think a big part of this has been how difficult my personal life struggles have been this year. Battling depression took its toll. I tried to continue my marketing/promoting plans, and that took every ounce of my energy.

Now it's time for NaNoWriMo 2015...my regional facilitators started a new Facebook page for us, I'm getting emails daily from NaNoWriMo.org, and I went onto my online dashboard to look at my past accomplishments. A big part of me wants to give it a try again. Maybe by challenging myself, I can get out of my writing slump.

However, I've decided to sit it out this year. I don't feel like I have enough gas in the tank to win, and I don't think my ego can take another failure. I've decided to focus on another project with my writing partner, take my time, and help stir the creative pot in my head instead this year.

For all of my buddies doing NaNo this year, I wish you nothing but the best. I wish I could be a part of it in 2015, but I know this is for the best.

33 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You can always do your own challenge. I go through long stretches of not writing as well. It will come back to you, Jay.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've never participated in NaNo. I can't this year as I'm busy editing what I spent all summer writing.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Do what you need to do, do what feels right creatively. I'm doing NaNo against this year - I need to do it, to complete a full ms again, beginning/middle/end, no matter how terrible. :)

Pat Hatt said...

Yeah, sometimes you just have to not do it. But the writing will come back, probably when you least expect it.

Jay Noel said...

Alex: That's a great idea. Or maybe do a challenge with another writer or two.

Diane: I'd love to have something to edit! Good luck.

Madeline: I hope you finish strong and win!

Pat: That's what I'm hoping for.

Jay Noel said...

Alex: That's a great idea. Or maybe do a challenge with another writer or two.

Diane: I'd love to have something to edit! Good luck.

Madeline: I hope you finish strong and win!

Pat: That's what I'm hoping for.

Pat Dilloway said...

Good idea. No sense trying to force it.

Christine Rains said...

I love NaNo and I did it for years, but I have to sit out this year's too. Too much going on outside my little office next month. I'm naming January my NaNo month. :)

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I think you've really given this deep thought and know what is best for you. I admire people who do NaNo but have never felt any desire to do it myself.

Sarah Foster said...

If you don't think you're up for it, it's probably better not to try. I've never been able to finish NaNo and I know my inspiration level is nowhere near where it would need to be to attempt it this year.

Cherie Reich said...

I participated in NaNo from 2009 to 2013, but I sat out last year and will sit out this year. Even though I am writing more and could push myself to do NaNo, I don't feel like I need to write 1667 words a day to prove to myself that I could write, like I did in those other years. That doesn't mean I'll never do NaNo again, of course. It's a great way to test yourself and stretch yourself beyond what you'd normally do.

Michael Offutt, Phantom Reader said...

I haven't participated in a NaNo yet. Maybe some day. I'm too easily distracted these days by all the different things vying for my attention.

Southpaw HR Sinclair said...

NaNo can be to stressful. I'n not inclined to add more stress in November.

cleemckenzie said...

Burn out happens, and I've found that just letting roll over me is the best thing to do.That and eat lots of stuff I like. Wine helped me over my burn out, too. Maybe more than the lots of stuff I like to eat.

No Na No. I can't do that.

Intangible Hearts said...

Even after burning sage and staring at a full moon during a lunar eclipse--after reciting the alphabet backwards while standing on one foot while holding a chihuahua and later cooking something on the stove that smells more like chocolate pudding than witches brew--still--after all that-- I don't believe in the concept.

Stephen Tremp said...

Although NaNo has helped me tremendously in the past, due to personal reasons I will have to respectfully decline this time around. Best wishes to those who move forward with NaNo!

Mark Noce said...

It's oddly a very personal decision, to Nano or not. It never really works for me, mainly because November is a busy time of year. But I average 1-2,000 words a day throughout the year, so I don't feel too bad about not being about to do 50K in a month.

Crystal Collier said...

I hear you about the burning out! I did too, but mostly because of pregnancy brain. Seems I can only "create" one major project at a time. =) My experiences with NaNo haven't been great though, so I fully support anyone who bows out.

Loni Townsend said...

I can see how a person can burn out. I barely scraped by last year. This year, I'm taking time off of work. I hope your creative juices start simmering. And maybe we'll see you next year. :)

G. B. Miller said...

I've never done NaNo so I'm keeping my non-NaNo streak alive. I feel that one doesn't need a special month to do a novel if you're hip deep in writing a novel to begin with.

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