Thursday, October 17, 2013


Every year, about this time, I have the same debate with myself. Do I want to participate in National Novel Writing Month - fondly known as NaNoWriMo, or just NaNo for short. Basically, the entire point of NaNo is to write 50k words in thirty days. 50k is the minimum end of a novel for most publishers, and it sounds like complete madness, doesn't it? Trying to write an entire book in thirty days?

But it's not quite as crazy as it sounds. I once wrote 117,000 words in two weeks. True, they weren't very good words, but they were words nonetheless. I eventually pared the book down to less than 100k and sold it to my first publisher way back in 2004. It was rereleased by Musa Publishing in 2011 as Playing with Fire.

So, in reality, 50k in a month isn't so crazy. It breaks down to 1667 words per day. That's not really a lot of words. On a good day, I can spit out 5k words (relatively good words, too, for the most part. I've come a long way in eleven years.) And it's fun, in a way. You get to join in a very nice, pretty supportive community and there's a bit of bonding as you all race to finish and collect the goodies, which consist of a banner to put on your website, a certificate you can print out, and the bragging rights to say, "I wrote an entire book in less than thirty-one days."

I've done NaNo every year since 2008. I've won every year. One time I had the book finished in something like 19 days. One year, I wrote the 50k in addition to doing edits (with very tight deadlines) on several other projects at the same time. That was not one of my wiser decisions. I burned out after that and didn't write any new words for months when it was over. It's not something I'll be doing again any time soon.

Every year, at this time, I debate whether or not to do it. This year's decision was probably the most difficult. Since my mother's death last June, I just haven't felt much like writing at all. I'd just finished a book literally a day or two before she died, so I've been working on revising it (and edits for Stolen Promise) but that's it. I just haven't felt that urge to write anything new. So I figured NaNo would be a NoGo for me this year.

But then earlier this week, an idea began rolling around in my mind. A few characters popped up. A storyline began niggling its way through my brain. And little by little, all the pieces are falling into place. So, I decided earlier this week to give NaNo a shot again. For the first time, I'll go into it knowing pretty much everything about the story. It'll just be a matter of getting the words down on the screen. It's nice to feel that urge to write again. I'm looking forward to it, actually.

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