nanoYesterday, virtually every writer I know logged in to the National Novel Writing Month website for the month-long push to complete a novel, or at least 55K words of it, before December 1st. Am I one of them? Nope. November hasn’t belonged to me since MSB earned his 5th week of vacation (he’s been with the same company for 45 years). Between his preferred vacation days and Mom week, I never have the entire month to myself to indulge in a writing spree.

But I do finally get to write!

tbld-no-commasCan’t tell you how excited I am about that. I haven’t written anything longer than a blog post since February, when I finished Skydiving to Love for our novella collection, The Bucket List Dare.  For the most part, I worked in my capacity as a freelance editor (and I thank each and every one of my clients for such a wonderful year!) until October, which I dedicated to my own writing. That dedication bit the dust with the release of The Bucket List Dare. New releases take a lot of time! (Not that I’m complaining.)

So now, almost three full months after I scribbled all those notes for Kayla’s Challenge in the Donald Maass Early Bird at the ACFW Conference in August, I finally get to pen those notes into novel form. I’ve been bragging about how I practically wrote the entire novella while in his class, right? Yowzah. I should’ve followed through right then, because now, everything seems scrambled.

But, just as all my NaNo-participating friends are doing, I’m pushing through, even though I’m not in the NaNo competition. The mess I wrote yesterday finally ended on a good note, but it’s still a mess. After being in “editor mode” for nine months, I need to turn off that side of my brain and give my  creative side good stretch, like an athlete before a marathon. And I need to remember to give myself permission to write a mess.

That’s the benefit of NaNo. The writer is so focused on getting the words down before the end of the month, that there’s no time to self-edit, delete and revise, or even lament over the mess. Those who do don’t finish. Since I edit as I go, I’ve never finished 55K words in a month, even when I was an active NaNo participant.

But back to my primary problem. I have all these Maass-inspired notes I’ve taken, plus the common theme our group for this novella collection has, plus the idea that my novella will be the prequel to a novel I’ve already started. You’d think this would be easy—I thought this would be easy!—but I’ve been surprised. I tend to concentrate on one thing and forget all others.

Good news is, I can go back and weave, just like every other author on the planet. So if I can just keep myself from blocking out pages and pages of drivel and hitting delete, I’ll be good. I may even hit 55K by the end of the month—or, since I only need 25K for this novella, maybe I can hit my goal before the man goes on his two-week Thanksgiving vacation.

About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
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21 Responses to NaNo-ish

  1. Pegg Thomas says:

    No Nano here either. I have a new story I’m starting, but not doing the Nano thing because – like you – November is not a good month for me to participate. It’s deer season, for pity’s sake!


  2. I’ve never done Nano either. I could never figure out why the originators of this exercise chose November as the month. We have Thanksgiving thrown in there, for some like you there is hunting season, and Christmas comes in on the tails of TG. There have always been blocks of time during this month that are not good writing time for me.

    I’m leaving tomorrow for a short writing retreat up in WI, my home state (God’s country), although I know, Linda, you’ll insist that Texas holds that honor LOL. We’ll have time to write and I am going to work on my story for the same collection Linda’s new story is in and get that going.

    I’m part of The Bucket List Dare with Linda and my time has been consumed with launching that novella collection and I have another book coming out in early January and have been in the midst of troubleshooting with my editor about that one. Another reason to not make this current project a Nano project. I just pretend I’m doing it to keep me moving ahead in the chunks of time that I have.


  3. November has never been a good month for me to write this intensely. I have birthdays and Thanksgiving and gearing up for Christmas. I found March to be a better month for me. Seekerville has their own version of NaNoWriMo which fits my writing goals better. It is fun to get that mess of words down and then spend months whipping them into shape. I wrote most of my second novel during that month. Any month that works for you as long as you’re committed to a goal is good. The advantage to NaNoWriMo and other group challenges is the accountability we give one another as we strive to reach our goal. A wonderful byproduct of this experience is realizing you can write a lot of words in a short time and have more stories ready to offer publishers.


  4. I can empathize with everyone. Life can be very uncooperative at times, not to mention retired husbands that want the newly retired wife more available for spontaneous fun. I still get my word count for the week in, setting manageable goals and mostly adhering to them. I have done better since retiring. If I count the re-writing and republishing of one book, and if I get these edits done in time, I may have three published this year. Big change from one a year before retirement. 😀

    My hat is off to those who pull Nano off. I know many authors who participate every year, and love it. And then, there’s me, the tortoise. Slow and steady also wins the race. 😉 However, I must add, that writing is the only area where I describe myself as a tortoise. Otherwise, I am the energizer bunny trying to do it all as fast as possible. Being married to a dedicated Tortoise has a few challenges. 😉


  5. Congrats! As you no doubt know, I’m not officially NaNo-ing either, but I got to start my scene outline for Dreambreaker this week, and I know exactly that giddy feeling you’re describing. Have fun!


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