Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Why NaNoWriMo Isn't Working For Me

I knew this would happen sooner or later. I can no longer complete a NaNoWriMo writing session and I think I know why.

This past June I attempted Camp NaNo with some of my writer friends. I could only get 15,000 words out before I just plum gave up. Camp NaNoWriMo is held in June or August and is the smaller cousin of NaNoWriMo held in November. The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month. It is suppose to be a fun way to get a novel (or novella if you are counting words) out of the writer's head and on to the page, ready for editing. But I have failed yet again.

I have lost my desire to forcefully push words out of my head, through my typing hands, and into my open office document. One month of hard writing, ignoring the dishes, and being grumpy for lack of sleep has finally lost it's appeal. And why is that? After more than 11 attempts of going through this crazy writing process, I have discovered that I have a hard time completing the next step. I have a hard time with EDITING. And I'm fairly sure it's because the NaNo novels are pure crap writing. Not nearly polished enough to even be considered a first draft. They are more of a zero draft.

One of my NaNo novels has a good chance at becoming a finished product. The story is good. It keeps me amused enough that I could see myself spending countless hours editing the heck out of the sentences to get them worthy of publishing. But my major problem is I have a hard time getting down to editing. Oh sure, I know what needs to be done. It's sort of like an overweight person who knows how to keep a food diary, and how to exercise, but she just doesn't do the work to lose the weight.

So what is holding me back? Is it fear of success? Fear of failure? Fear that I am not a good enough writer and that I'm wasting my time piecing together enough words to form a complete novel?

And there it is: my greatest pet peeve. Wasting Time.

The funny thing is that the more I procrastinate about editing my work, the more time I am wasting. So in truth, I am doing the exact thing I hate most. This realization has given me new motivation to get moving on my novel projects. No more NaNoWriMo. From now on it's all about editing. This next year I am going to prove to myself that I can complete a novel and it will be worthy of publishing.

How are you doing with your writing?

1 comment:

  1. I think you can only successfully do NaNo if you have the time during the day (ie no "paying job", no kids under foot, etc.), to sit and focus on getting the words out. I couldn't do it with my kids around and the business of June. I don't write from an outline, but generally have a good idea of what I expect from the story brewing in my head.

    And yes - editing is hard work, after a word dump of 50 000 - so no one really wants to tackle it - but, as always, I have faith in you. :)