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Why I’m Not Participating In NaNoWriMo

So there, I’ve said it. I’m not participating in the National Novel Writing Month this year. I just won’t.

Ok, maybe it’s really not that dramatic. Here’s the scoop: in early September, I was seriously planning on participating. I had a story all lined up. In fact, it was the story I had originally planned on writing last year but another one came along that was further developed in my mind, leaving this one with more time for research etc. So truly, I was going for it. Not to mention it’s a bit of a pet project of mine that I’ve been working on in my mind for a year and it’s a story I think is actually pretty promising.

So what happened?

Well, to tell you the truth, I realized that before I participate in another NaNoWriMo, I really need to do a few other things first. I need to finish a bunch of stories! Yup, so finishing is by far one of my greatest challenges and no, before you ask, it’s not because I don’t like the work. It’s more that another story pops into my mind that just feels so much more important and I take off on a rabbit trail…and then another…and another…and before you know it, there are tons of stories sitting on the shelf in one state or another.

As of right now, I’ve got four novel length ideas sitting on the shelf of my mind: my Nano novel from last year that needs some tender attention; two stories bound for Wattpad, most likely (or at least one to test the waters with) and then the one I was planning on writing this year for Nano. Let’s not forget half a dozen short stories in various states of completion that, well, they need to be completed.

So, I’ve made the decision that I won’t be participating in NaNoWriMo simply because I’ve got too many other stories I need to finish.  Oh, and I almost forgot: I’ve got a few stories ready to be submitted too that I need to get out the door. I can’t neglect those either, right?

The plan for the rest of the year is therefore as follows:

1. Finish up the short stories I’ve got laying around. I’ve got one that’s already on its second draft, it just needs to be tightened up and “redrafted” a few times. There’s another one that just needs an ending and a third one that I’m really itching to write just because I like the idea so much (yeah, one of those).

2. Assuming I have time in between the above, I’m going to continue working through my NaNoWriMo novel from last year. Although the core of the story I think is good, when I started reading through it this past summer I realized that there’s so much more that I can expand on while still keeping the story going. Not to mention it needs a lot of other tweaks.

3. I’ve got a variety of flash fiction flying around in my mind as well that I’d like to just test the waters with. We’ll see where all the fits in though.

For now, that’s it.  Now, I’ve got a piece of flash fiction I need to finish…before I change my mind about this NaNoWriMo thing. However, if all goes well, the story I had originally planned on writing last  year, then this year…hopefully it’ll see the light of day next year. Another year of research will do it good, I think.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Why? Why not?

7 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Participating In NaNoWriMo”

  1. Madeleine D'Este (@madeleine_deste) says:

    We’re on the same page! Sorry, I should be pun-ished.
    I’ve also decided not to participate in Nanowrimo this year because I’m in the middle of something else which I should finish. But I’ve also been thinking that I don’t need Nanowrimo like I used to. I know how to vomit out 50k words and can do it at any time of the year. Years of Nanos have taught me this skill. Now I’m about the fine-tuning and finishing.
    So you’re not alone.

    1. Profile photo of Mattias
      Mattias says:

      Yeah, I think that’s a good point. Nanowrimo is a great way to actually finish something and learn how to do it over the years. I suppose if you had your ducks in a row, it could be good for a first draft too. I could definitely use more practice finishing what I start but this year, doing Nanowrimo won’t do that. It’ll be just an excuse not to finish a bunch of other stuff.

  2. spottedgeckgo says:

    I’m with you on this one. I wanted to come up with something to NaNo this year, but, erm… I already wrote it. That’s right, one of those stupid splinter stories that sticks in your skin. You pull it out and the story bleeds all over the paper, and drafted.
    Also, I’ve been on the fence about this year’s NaNo since… last November. I think it’s great, but like you guys already said, I can spit out 50,000 words any time I need to (I like spitting). Instead of being inspired last year, there were times when I looked around and said to myself, “really?” It was cool pushing and helping other writers get those 2500+ words per day, but some days I would read a string of nano posts that were simply depressing. You know the ones I’m talking about. “I was going to write, but I went to a movie, and then got ice cream, and then watched netflix for 2 hours. I have no time.”
    I have far too many short fiction pieces to work on, blog posts, and story reviews to bog myself down by adding another unpolished first draft to the hard drive. One that I’d actually like to polish up in November.
    Good post Mattias!

  3. Ida Auclond says:

    Oh! I also changed my mind at the last minute… and decided to do NaNo.

    I didn’t want to because every time I tried, I ended up exhausted by the end of the second week. Also, I’m finishing a first draft that I really wanted to edit in November in order to publish it on Wattpad in February.

    However, this year I am unemployed so I don’t risk exhaustion as much; thanks to the monthly challenges, I now know I can commit to writing every day even if maybe not always over 1,667 words; and I’m starting to get tired of working on the same story: I feel like I need to let it rest before I edit it. Besides, I love interacting with my region’s community! I live a bit far from them now, so I might not go to live meet ups, but we chat on Discord.

    Also, like you I have a bunch of stories I need to finish. One of them has been obsessing me since I started to see the end of my current WIP’s first draft, so… I think I’ll write that (I only have 10 k so far). I’m disgusted that it’s another romance (I’m not a romance author!), but there are some mystery/thriller elements in it, so… it’s an upgrade. ^_^

    Good luck finishing your stories!

    1. Profile photo of Mattias
      Mattias says:

      And good luck to you too! It sounds like you’re in the perfect position to take advantage of Nano this year. For me, that was last year and like I mentioned, I’m thinking next year will be the perfect time to write this one story I’m working on. Time will tell.

      In fact, the reason I ended up participating last year was partly because of the monthly challenges. It got me into a rhythm that in some prior years just hadn’t been there.

      I’ve got a few things on Wattpad as well. I’ll look you up. You can find me there under @techieinak, same as my Twitter handle.

  4. aliciagaile says:

    It’s obviously past November now, but I’m catching myself in the same spot. I’m gearing up for the big finale in my current February project and along comes another idea that I just *had* to outline, and do a character sketch, and find some names for….

    The accountability of the monthly challenges is great, plus the support, but for me I’m finding that the more consistently I write the more my brain comes up with things to write and there’s just not enough time in the day…or month. Good post.

    1. Profile photo of Mattias
      Mattias says:

      Thanks!

      Yeah, I almost constantly have to resist the urge to get sidetracked on another project that’s just SO exciting…then there’s not enough time. Focus, focus 🙂

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