On NaNoWriMo

On NaNoWriMo

Figure 1. This is my husband. Pre-remodeling. He can wear a sweater, can't he? This has nothing to do with anything.

Figure 1. This is my husband. Pre-remodeling. He can wear a sweater, can’t he? This has nothing to do with anything.


I was going to do NaNoWriMo this year but then I realized my current project isn’t in the right place for it. For me, the benefit of 50k in 30 days is about discovering what in the holy fuck it is I want to talk about, not in taking a project that I’ve got a good outline in place for and running it through my machine.

That, and I kinda slacked the first few days, and now it’s too late.

And that I’m taking some writing time off for a bit. It’s been kind of a crazy year.

But I did want to say this about the experience. I’ve done NaNo several times and “won” just twice. I think it’s a great experience and I recommend it to anyone who wants to try their hand at fiction. I don’t have any fussy political feelings about NaNo novels; I think it’s kind of a personal thing. The constraint is helpful for some; the community is helpful for others. Why be a dick about it? It’s not like our culture sits around endorsing artistic pursuits over all else? Jesus. Don’t get the Hate.

A lot of people (myself included) bemoan that it happens during November.

“Why November? What a sucky month! There’s so much shit going on! It’s only 30 days!” <— that kinda thing

The truth is that no matter where you are in your life, writing will be difficult. You must constantly make space for it.

I am reminded of Stephen King, talking about how he wrote his first few books in a trailer, on a desk next to the washer and dryer.

I wrote more the year my daughter was born than I did in the two years previous, when I quit teaching to “become a writer.”

And I wrote two novels and edited a third while living in half of a remodeled house, with no central heat, or walls, or insulation, in the last 15 months.

My point is – writing a book can happen ANYWHERE. November or not. Walls or not. Baby crying or not. You can really do this work no matter your circumstances. So don’t wait for circumstances to align for you give it a shot. Read Charles Bukowski’s poem “Excuses” if you need further inoculation toward this assertion.

And don’t forget to have fun. It should be fun, at least part of the time. Good luck!






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