My new view of #NaNoWriMo

“The novel is born of disillusionment; the poem, of despair.”~Jose Bergamin, Spanish writer

This year, I free myself from NaNoWriMo convention and snub my nose at what is expected.

Everyone approaches NaNoWriMo differently. This first year I discovered that the month of November was reserved for writers, I was amazed. Who does this? Could I write 50,000 words in one month? Every other writer seemed to be doing it, and I’m loopy for challenges. I jumped in.

Those first two years, I completed the challenge, earning some local NaNoWriMotown stickers and buttons along the way. Those two half-started stories sit in a dusty file on my computer catching cobwebs. They were pushed through for word count, not necessarily interest.

The next two years, I broke away from the expected. I decided not to start a new novel. Instead, I would add words to an existing story. That’s officially a NaNo no-no, but these were my 50,000 words, dammit! In fact, I would write non-fiction if I wanted, not the rule-based fiction novel. I completed that challenge, adding nice stuff into pieces I have yet to complete.

Year Five, I started writing a new story, stalled on it half way through word count, and began a new story mid-month. I completed that, showing how fast I can type under pressure.  It was yet another I-thought-this-was-a-great-idea-at-the-time-but-what-was-I-thinking story. Sloppy words, all 50,000 of them.  Or maybe it was 79,000 words total.

This whole word count thing seems like a waste. However, last year, I wrote a striking sequel to my published humorous crime drama short story, Jimmy the Burglar. I wanted to cheer for the burglar again because I had all these future story ideas flouncing around in my head. I broke it down into the elements that excited me:

WHO–Jimmy the Burglar
DOING WHAT–Stealing from a boutique store
WHEN–After the first story, at night
WHERE–The town is based on Plymouth, Michigan. That’s a hip-n-trendy town nearby with a park and a fountain, two tea shops and a paint your own pottery place.
WHY–Because I wear funky socks, and someone pointed that out to me on my Instagram account.

That story–successfully completed and fiction to boot–is in some stage of draft.  I haven’t worked on it in awhile, but I adore it. I want you to root for the burglar to successfully steal stuff.  He’s a fun character, and I’m always excited to tell his tales.

I planned to continue work on Thief of Socks this month, but we’re moving from Michigan to New Jersey soon-ish. Packing up 10 years worth of house into a storage unit is way more time consuming than I expected. No way I’ll have the time or energy.

Until last night when I discovered an old box.

As a kid into adulthood, I saved every letter and card people sent me. When everyone switched to email, the only way to keep correspondence was to print the emails. Inside that plastic tub were 6 or 7 binders of those printed emails. There’s no way I want to move those. I found separate binders of printed emails between my friend and I back when we emailed daily haikus. If I wrote first in the day, her reply contained my haiku. I’ve always wanted to compile my poems into a chapbook, and this is the perfect opportunity. I’ll flip through binder by binder and type in every haiku of mine I can find. Tedious, time-consuming, but so is NaNoWriMo. Do I have 50,000 words of haiku? We’ll know on December 1.

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2 Responses to My new view of #NaNoWriMo

  1. Personally, I think NaNoWriMo should fit whatever purpose a writer wants of it. Sure, you can do that anytime of the year, but NaNo makes it an event. Sounds like a cool project. Good luck!

    • Hey, thank you. Progress has been zero while I focus on the move, and I’m okay with that. if this is not the year to do it, then it will be next year when I’m settled in my new area. Yes, NaNo should be whatever the writer needs, and I still have about 15 days to make some progress on my project. Good luck to you!

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