NaNoWriMo 2018

To NaNo or not to NaNo…that is the question…for today’s post…

Questions about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) always hit me with bouts of indecision at this time of year.  And it’s usually the same two questions: 1) Should I participate? and, 2) If I do, what should I focus on?

This year, these two questions are giving me a lot to think about, though I hasten to add, the first question has always been answered in the past with a “yes”.  That being said, I’m going to bore you anyway with this year’s deliberations…

Today’s random photos are all inspired by the element of water…

Should I Participate in NaNoWriMo 2018?

As I’ve already mentioned, in the past I have always answered this question with a “yes”.  I’ve joined in the yearly writing challenge for the last six years and learned a lot about how I write and what works for me.  Last year’s lesson was tailored writing sprints, but I digress.

This year, I’m suffering from exhaustion.  It’s been an issue I’ve had all year long, but instead of resting like any sane person would, I pushed myself harder in an attempt to work through it / ignore it.  I’ve now got to the point where that is no longer an option, and I’ve started to close down many of the projects I’ve been working on to create the time and space I need to recuperate.  This in itself, would be a sensible reason not to do NaNo this year.

However, even if everything stopped tomorrow, I would still be writing.  I, like most writers, write every single day.  So whether or not I sign up to NaNo, I will be writing.

NaNo has become an important part of my writing year, and I think I would be quite disappointed if I skipped it, even once.  This means I think I will be participating again this year, unless I find closer to November 1st, I’m really not up to it.  For now, I’m full of positive thoughts – always look on the bright side of life, and all that…so to the next question…

What should I focus on for NaNoWriMo 2018?

This is the question that stumps me every year; I think hard about it for two weeks, pick a project, plan it for a week and then change my mind the following week, only to pick something else on the 1st November. I’m so very indecisive.  I have so many ideas for stories that I want to write them all right now. But, I hope to avoid these shenanigans this year with a little prep and planning.  Whatever I pick, I’m going to stick with it, because an over-active, over-anxious mind equals exhaustion.

Last month I completed my latest novel, Oathbreaker (if you didn’t already know!).  75,000 words over 38 writing days produced the best first draft I have ever written.  It helped, I think, that I completed it from start to finish – hell, it helped that I actually completed it at all.  I have dozens of novels on my computer, in various stages, but only a handful can be described as complete – and it’s not just novels, but novellas and short stories too!

Anyway, back to Oathbreaker.  When I sat down and started writing it, it was supposed to be a standalone short novel, but as the story unfolded, it became clear that was never going to happen.  Now it’s a novel trilogy, and I’ve already had people interested enough in it to ask when will they be able to start reading book 2!  Not a bad result from a first draft!

It makes sense then that my next project should be book 2.  The problem is, I’m just about to make a start on it but NaNo doesn’t begin for another 27 days.  My project could be the Oathbreaker trilogy; I start book 2 now and finish what’s left of it in November, and should I need more words, I could start book 3.

But there is part of me that says pick a different project for NaNo and let Oathbreaker take care of itself (book 1 will also need editing at some point…).  Surely it will be simpler that way.  So what else could I work on for NaNo?  Earlier in the year I was working on two unfinished novels.  They each need 20-30,000 words to complete the first draft.  There are also a load of half-finished short stories awaiting some attention.

So I guess my options are:

  • 50,000 words on the Oathbreaker trilogy
  • 50,000 words split between the Oathbreaker trilogy and a few smaller writing projects
  • 50,000 words split between unfinished novels
  • 50,000 words split between unfinished novels and short writing projects
  • Or start a  completely new project

It looks like I’ve got a lot to think about.

Wow.  That was a long post.  If you’re still reading, I’m both surprised and thankful 🙂

So what are your thoughts?  Any wise words or suggestions to impart to this indecisive writer?  Are you joining in with NaNo this year?  Do you know what you are focusing on?  Let me know in the comments.

And, should you wish to add me as a NaNo writing buddy, you can find me over on the NaNoWriMo website by searching “Sammi Cox”…

10 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 2018

  1. In a way I wish I was going for the NaNo, just for a break from the Asaric Tales quint. But I’m afraid if I do that I’ll lose momentum.
    Seeing your options, I’d say to pick the unfinished novel that excites you the most and finish that. A finished novel (first or ninety-ninth draught) will undoubtedly improve in being left for a while whilst other projects are completed. Or so I tell myself.
    I wish you the best with it, and am interested to see what will come out of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s the same old conundrum, isn’t it? It’s exciting to have so many projects going! But also can get confusing, at least for me. I have many short stories (some of them far too long in their current drafts) that desperately need revising, and somehow the more of them there are, the less able I am to focus on any one of them. So for me, the choice would be clear: If you’re already moving ahead with the Oahtbreaker trilogy, then I would hate to lose my momentum on that, and would just keep going with it. Of course, that depends on how clear you are about what you’re going to write for the second book (how much of an outline or plan you have).

    Although I’d also step back to the first question: should you do it at all? The whole point of NaNoWriMo is to push yourself to work super hard in one month, and you’ve been pushing yourself super hard all year. You obviously do not require any outside motivation! So think hard about what other things you could cut back on, to make it possible to do NaNo without totally overburdening and further exhausting yourself. Don’t get so wrapped up in deadlines that you neglect your health and well-being!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I am exactly the same – I find it’s easier to start new stories than try and go back and finish old ones. It’s not because I think there’s no merit in them, only that it’s easier to think about and concentrate on something completely fresh. But that doesn’t help the list of unfinished projects get any shorter.

      Yes, it would be terrible to lose momentum on a project. There’s no guarantee when it will come back :-/ I wrote Oathbreaker with only a very limited set of major plot points, and I’ll probably try the same again for book 2, so luckily, planning isn’t much of an issue.

      Skipping NaNo might be the sensible option. I’ve already cut back / closed down some projects I was working on – but there’s still one more big one to wrap up. I’ll probably re-evaluate the situation again if I get that completed in the next week or so.

      Thanks Joy! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • There’s nothing wrong with being sensible, and saying No. I think a lot of writers are so into the concept and challenge of NaNo that they feel they MUST do it every year or they’re Not Really a Writer. But in fact, many successful writers don’t do NaNo at all, or only do it periodically. So give yourself permission to say no if it’s not right for you this year.


  3. I find that if I’m on a roll with something, it’s a shame to stop just because of some arbitrary goal or month. I’d work on Oathbreaker now if that’s what you want to do, then I’d decide at the start of November if you’re still digging it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s true. I probably don’t need NaNoWriMo to find the motivation to write or to reach a word count goal. That certainly gives me something to think about…

      Best wishes to you too!

      Thanks Leland! 🙂


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