It’s National Novel Writing Month, or, more commonly known as “NaNo.” For the three of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a commitment to write 50,000 words during the month of November, preferably all in one novel.
True confession: I can easily write 50k words in November. I probably have, for every November since 2009, when I began writing with vigor after taking a nearly twenty year hiatus from it (you know how it is: college, partying, dating, marriage, kids…).
November is a sort of in-between month. It’s after the hubbub of back-to-school and football season. It’s before the chaos of the holidays. And, in my case, deer hunting season drops in there (check out my funny blog post about being a hunting widow and inconvenient pooping HERE), which allows me even more time to dedicate to writing than usual. It’s really the perfect month to commit to writing an entire novel in thirty days.
And once again, I’m not participating.
Wanna know why? It’s because of the pressure.
Yep. It’s the pressure. The commitment. You must do this, no matter what the hell else happens in your life. Day job. Kids. Dog. Clean house. Husband. None of it matters, if you haven’t reached your word count.
Okay, okay, I’m blowing this way out of proportion, and yes, I’m fully aware I am.
But that’s how my brain works.
If a story idea pops into my head and it’s so insistent I can’t help but sit down and write it, I’ll get 20k words down in a weekend. I’ll do exactly what I mentioned above—forsake all else—until I reach a point in the story where I am comfortable taking a break (or the weekend ends and I have to get the kid off to school). But that’s a different kind of pressure. There’s no real commitment to that pressure. If I don’t finish the novel, I don’t finish it. I haven’t promised it to anyone; I haven’t put it up for pre-order on Amazon; hell, I probably haven’t even posted snippets on Facebook yet (I tend to do that, a lot). I just decided to write, and so I did.
But if you tell me I have to write—it’s a whole different story. For example, I’ve been invited to participate in a Valentine’s Day Anthology. I’m supposed to contribute a 15k word short story with some pretty basic parameters. Fifteen-thousand words, when I have a couple free weekends and a story idea rolling around in my head, is a piece of cake. Usually. Until someone gives me a deadline and asks me to commit. Then I find myself sitting, sometimes for hours, staring at a computer screen that looks like this:
So yeah, I’m not participating in NaNo. But I am writing. So rest assured, there will be something new available to read soon. Maybe even that Valentine’s Day short…
Tami Lund is an author, wine drinker, award winner, and writing-commitment-phobe. She also has a vampire novella releasing next week, if you want to grab it for 99 cents on pre-order (because it’ll be $2.99 after it releases): RESIST – A Vampire Blood Courtesans Novel