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This Writing Life: Why I’m Doing NaNoWriMo 2011

31 October, 2011

Every year, when November looms, I consider whether to take part in NaNoWriMo. Last year, I even wrote a post about why I wasn’t going to join in, so this year I thought I’d post in the other direction.

There are always a few questions I ask myself over NaNoWriMo. Do I have anything I want to write? Do I have time? Is it going to be any benefit to me? The first two are quite easy to answer: I do have time, and I do have a novel in mind that will work perfectly for NaNoWriMo. The third question is more complicated, but it’s also the most important one.

When I first finished NaNoWriMo, back in 2007, I hadn’t properly written for over a year. I was desperate to get back to writing, and needed a big push to help me on my way. NaNo provided exactly that, and I’ve kept pretty good writing habits ever since then. Last year, I wrote somewhere in the region of 160k words, and the total may well be higher this year. That doesn’t include the vast amount of editing I’ve done on a recent novel, either, or these blog posts.

However, 160k words in a year isn’t that much for many professional writers. When I’m working on a novel, I aim for 1000 words a day, which again isn’t very much (and certainly isn’t very ambitious given the amount of time in my day I can devote to writing). This year’s NaNo, then, will be a chance to up my daily word count, hopefully to a level I can sustain next year, and continue to improve upon.

Aside from word counts, I’m hoping this year’s NaNoWriMo will provide a big boost to my creativity and my self-motivation. This year has been hard for me: the harder I’ve tried to work, the less I’ve felt to accomplish. It’s a frustrating feeling. Writing an entire children’s novel in the space of November would go a long way towards helping me feel that I’ve actually achieved something this year, which will hopefully carry me through into 2012 (for which I have big plans, as ever).

So, if you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo this year, let me know in the comments. Why are you taking part? Do you want to prove something to yourself, or write a novel for the first time? Or do you just enjoy a challenge, and all the craziness that ensues on the NaNoWriMo forums throughout November?

  1. 31 October, 2011 12:34 pm

    Good luck ! I’m taking this on for the first year and I am a bit scared about being able to actually finish!

    • 31 October, 2011 4:12 pm

      Good luck to you too, Beth! It took me a couple of tries to actually get into the swing of NaNo and manage to finish. Even if you don’t finish, it’s what you DO manage to write that’s most important.

  2. Niina M. J. Kemppainen permalink
    14 November, 2011 9:10 pm

    I jumped in my first NaNo in 2005, and I didn’t make it to the end, nor signed up for the following years. This year, I planned to start the project again, but just a couple of days before kick-off, my schedules changed completely. I was, and still am, so disappointed I couldn’t make any time to Nano, even though I have a great idea for a novel. I’ve been planning it though, hoping to get more time after the Holidays, to start writing it. And well, maybe next year I have more time to engage in NaNo!

    Good luck to you, Amy! I’ll follow your blog and be there with you, in spirit. 🙂

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