by R.C. Lewis
Okay, I admit it. I've never done NaNoWriMo before, and I never thought I would. I have reasons, though.
November 2009: I joined my first online writers' community on November 1st. I'm sure I heard about it at some point that month, but I was still getting my bearings and trying to figure out what to do with my one finished manuscript.
November 2010: When the month came around, I was on the homestretch of the third novel in my little trilogy, and my goal was to finish the draft before Thanksgiving. (I met that goal with days to spare—go, me!) I also started drafting snippets of my next project near the beginning of the month. I figured I was busy and motivated enough without official NaNo-ness.
October 2011: I registered an account on the NaNo website. Why now?
Confession #1: So far, I'm finding it's pretty much the same as my usual writing pace. I'm even ahead of the curve right now. (I know! It's only the second week—still plenty of time for me to crash.) So it's not the "fire under the butt" aspect that made me join up this year.
Confession #2: When I saw the ready-made stats and graph provided on the website, I had to say, "Be still, my math-geeking heart!" But if I wanted to, I could set the same thing up in Excel. In fact, I probably will. So it's not that.
Confession #3: It's not even the much-reputed camaraderie. I'm reasonably social in small-to-medium groups, whether in real life or online. I only get into something involving a really large group for specific reasons. My existing writerly support systems (ahem—AgentQuery Connect) are comfortable and sufficient. When I'm really rolling on a writing project, I just want to roll.
All right, already—so why did I give into peer pressure and join NaNo this year?
License to experiment.
This annual "special occasion" for writerdom let me give myself permission to take one month off from my usual fare and try something different—in my case, YA Contemporary rather than something in the speculative fiction realm. Is it something I would ever want to query and/or publish? Maybe not. (Of course, you never know.) But I'm stretching myself in a different direction, playing with new elements, which is a lot of fun.
Maybe during another year's NaNo, I'll try writing a non-YA novel. Maybe a mystery. Maybe I'll dive into a more complicated narrative structure. Maybe something that hasn't occurred to me as any kind of possibility yet.
What drew you to NaNoWriMo? If you're not into NaNo, what kinds of out-of-the-box experimentation do you hope to have the guts to try someday?