Yes... I'm back

22 November 2010

In this post, I don't intend to have any skipping around or "beating around the bush" so to speak. That's why I'm going to say my "big news" right here, right now:
I quit NaNoWriMo.
Yep, I said it. And now I shall explain.

At the beginning of the month of November, NaNoWriMo was fun. It was enjoyable, it kept me writing every day, and my book had never been better... until I realized something: by forcing myself to write almost 2,000 words every day, my writing was getting worse and worse. It didn't flow, it sounded terrible, and I threw in some chapters that were no more than space-fillers--they didn't connect at all the the central point.

Now, this may be my problem because I started out Nano having already written a little over 20,000 words for my book, Peril on the Sea (now much more fittingly titled Violets Are Blue). Don't worry--I didn't cheat--but to complete Nano (and win) I would have to make my book about 70,000 words long. And for me, that was hard. I should have been getting close to the end of the book (my personal word count goal is anywhere between 40k and 50k), and yet I had so much more to write to complete NaNo's goal. And that's where the space-filler chapters came in. And when my little sister, who has been reading this book a chapter a day (and eagerly begging me to write more so that she can read more) told me that she didn't like all those space-filler chapters, I finally realized what a waste it was to spend hours on end, sitting on my laptop and writing NOTHING. Stories come in all shapes and sizes; I was attempting to stretch Violets Are Blue beyond its capacity.

Another point: every morning (my favorite writing time is between 5:30 and 7:30 A.M.) when I would tell my dad my word count, he would ask me, "Well, are they ____ good words?" And I would be at a loss what to say. But my dad had a point. The one thing that always bothered me about Nano was their mindset that it doesn't matter what you write, it just matters how much you write. I'm sorry Nano, but I don't agree with you. If I'm going to spend my time writing, I'd like my writing to be the best it could possibly be. And I would so much rather write 200 good words than 2,000 so-so words.

So I quit. But, in a way, I didn't quit. My word count is 37,000 words, and I intend to finish this book before November ends. I feel no pressure to write, and because of that, my writing has never been better.
Because I took the time to step outside of Nano, take a deep breath, and start writing once more, my book was saved from going completely downhill.
And that's my story. Feel free to disagree with me--I understand that many of you love Nano, and will probably be gaping in shock when you read this post. And please understand that I do not hate Nano. Rather, I don't think that my circumstances with my book (i.e. having already written 20,000 words) really made Nano a good choice for me. 

Have a lovely Thanksgiving, ladies! (And speaking of Thanksgiving, keep your eyes open for a book review on Thanksgiving Day... :)

7 epistles:

  1. No, I agree with you for the most part. For me, Nano was perfect for the first two years. I had never stuck with any project to its finish and I had certainly never written anything that long. I love Nano because it gave me the confidence to write. I was able to tell myself that it didn't matter if I thought these words were terrible, I just had to keep writing. See, I have a really cruel and brutally honest inner editor and I had to learn how to get him under control.

    Now, however, I'm finding that finishing Nano is not quite as important to me as writing well. I've learned to take my inner editor's advice in mmoderation and tune him out the rest of the time. So I think Nano is brilliant for first time writers who need to feel that rush of excitement that comes from actually finishing something so that they will be motivated to finish things on their own time without Nano.

    I fell behind early this year because I'm in school, but I'm not letting it stress me out. I'm putting schoolwork first.
    Now that I know I can't possibly finish it by the end of the month, my goal is to finish by the end of the year.

    Wow, sorry for such a long comment, I get carried away sometimes.

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  2. A mature thing to do, I think. (-:

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  3. I agree...I don't have a lot of free time, so "quality over quantity" is my goal these days. Nano sounds like a great way to stay motivated, but it's just not for me.

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  4. I totally agree. I 'quit' too, but I am truly getting a new start. :)

    ~bree

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  5. Can I just copy what Bree said?
    "I totally agree. I 'quit' too, but I am truly getting a new start. :)"
    Hehe. That's me too.

    - Ellie

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  6. I intend to give NaNo a go next year. But I agree. Quality matters over quanity. My sister said it was very hard to keep in her style of writing b/c she was so pressured just to "get the words" (she won already by the way! :) I can see how it'd be difficult for new authors to adapt to such a racing mindset, but I think it'd be a motivator for me to get my book done...fast. I can type extremely fast and stay in style, so I'll see what happens next Novemeber! :)

    Glad to have you back! I missed you! :)
    -Awel P.

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  7. I tried NaNo last year and just couldn't write under the pressure. I am such a perfectionist when it comes to my books and stories that it drove me mad! So, I understand 100% how you feel, Elizabeth Rose.

    And thank you for praying for my Grandpa.

    God bless,
    Emily

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"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body." —Proverbs 16:24

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