NaNoWriMo Midterm Report


[Cross-posted on]

This is post is going to sound like one long excuse, but I’m abandoning my NaNoWriMo novel. Remember when I said I wanted to write something so I could enter it in the Terry Pratchett first novel contest? Well, I spent months trying to come up with a workable idea that fulfilled its requirements, and I thought I’d found one that was good enough to pursue, but after writing a little over 8,000 words this month, I’ve decided it would be a waste of time to continue forcing myself to work on an idea that I didn’t feel very strongly about. Writing is always incredibly hard work, but this was ridiculous; every sentence felt like pulling teeth. I just had no inspiration or motivation to continue. And now that I’ve decided to let it go, I don’t even feel bad about it; though I had put a lot of work into it, there was little worth salvaging.

Meanwhile, I’d been nursing a different idea for a sci-fi novel for a long time and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Though I figured I’d just work on it once I finished this manuscript, I ultimately decided that it wasn’t worth it – especially since I had little faith that I could produce a readable 80,000-word manuscript by Dec. 31. So I dropped my NaNoWriMo novel, and I’ve been working on my other idea with no set deadline in mind – and so far it’s been going really well.

What about meeting my NaNoWriMo goal? What about confronting this challenge? Sorry, but I never really cared about writing a novel in a month. My writing goals for the contest just happened to coincide with NaNoWriMo. Besides, I’ve done it before, and though it’s a great challenge for a lot of people who don’t allow themselves the luxury of pursuing their creative writing interests on a regular basis, I wasn’t really getting anything out of it that wasn’t servicing my Terry Pratchett aspirations. Personally, the act of writing is somewhat diminished by pursuing the all-important Word Count. That’s just not how I work. I need to think about what I’m writing each day before continuing, which takes time. Otherwise I’m left with a novel that, even pared down to its bare bones, doesn’t even meet my standards for something worth editing.

I don’t want to put NaNoWriMo down. It’s a great challenge that encourages people who don’t usually write to make time to finally write the novel that’s been at the back of their heads for – very probably – a long time. Me? I’m looking to make novel-writing something I do every month, not just in November.

2 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Midterm Report

  1. Zalina, I’m so proud of you for making this decision! It must have been difficult, considering we were all egging you on to reach your NaNoWriMo goal, but obviously, writing a novel in a month isn’t the important thing; writing a novel that you are happy with is.

    I think it is so cool that you’re working on a manuscript, whenever it gets finished. I am somewhat jealous; I don’t think I’m a fiction-writing type of person. Maybe 10 years from now, I’ll have some non-fiction type of words to put down on paper.

    Go Zalina!!

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