I made a joke on Twitter yesterday:
If I write 10,000 words tonight I’d be caught up on NaNoWriMo!
— Jason Bougger (@jasonbougger) November 6, 2017
Obviously, this was implying that I either hadn’t started yet, or was skipping NaNoWriMo all together. In my case, it’s that I’m skipping, and really didn’t even consider doing it this year.
Now I should clarify that I love NaNoWriMo. I’ve done it three times, and completed it two of those three. It’s a great exercise for both new and experienced writers, and getting that “Winner” Jpeg for the first time is a feeling that can’t be beat. Especially if it your first book.
So, yes, those are both several years old, and it is probably time to try again one of these years. Just not this one.
It’s always up to you whether or not you participate in something like NaNoWriMo. I’m not going to list all the reasons why you should do it in this post because we’re already one week into November and if you’re still undecided, it’s really too late. (Note: It’s not too late to start a book; it’s just too late to try to complete it this month.)
What I am going to do is list a few reasons why it’s okay to skip it to ease the conscience of those of us not doing it.
3 Reasons Why it’s Okay to Skip NaNoWriMo
1. It’s not the right time
Let’s face it. As adults, there are times in our lives where things are just so crazy busy (or just simply crazy) that committing yourself to something as large as writing 1667 words every day is impossible. One thing, though. If you’re going to use the “I’m too busy” excuse to avoid NaNoWriMo or any other writing project, then your daily TV viewing better be set to 60 minutes or less. Or else!
2. You’ve got other (more important) priorities
Here’s another valid reason to avoid writing another novel. You’ve simply got other things to do that are more important toward building your writing career. You might be in the process of editing or querying, building a blog, finishing a different novel, publishing short stories…Whatever it is, if taking a 30-day break from it would set you back, then don’t take that break. There will be many more Novembers during your life.
3. You just don’t need to
One of the big reasons to do NaNoWriMo is the psychological one. Proving to yourself that you can finish a novel. Or training yourself to stop editing while you write. Or learning to discipline yourself and get on a schedule. If you’re already doing or have done these things, then you may not gain anything from NaNoWriMo and it’s better to just continue writing at your own pace.
An as for me, I’m assuming I won’t be attempting it again for several years until the kids are older. When they’re this young, I just can’t justify taking this much time away from them, so writing on “my schedule” instead of a 1667/day word count will have to do for now. And that’s okay 🙂
A word about failure
Finally, I’d just to real quickly say something about “losing” NaNoWriMo. It’s important to remember that it’s not a real loss. The only thing you’re competing against is an arbitrary goal of completing 50,000 words in 30 days. If you don’t meet that goal, so what?
Say you only get 15,000 words written this month. Great! You’ve got 15,000 words toward a first draft. Just because you didn’t get 50,000 doesn’t mean you need to quit or abandon the project. Keep that pace and you’ll have a 60,000 word novel in four months. And that is also a great victory.
So for those of you who aren’t NaNo-ing this month, I’m with you. And for those of you who are…I’m with you too. I wish you great luck and hope you crank out the best 50,000 words you can this month.
See you soon and if you have any NaNoWriMo tips or experiences to share, feel free to leave a comment!