Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

It’s that time again … The NaNoWriMo Blues

NaNoWriMo crest

Time, that is, for my annual dig at those of you willing to destroy one whole month of the year (and there are only twelve!) in the name of art. In good fun, of course …

Lines Written on October 31

Farewell, my friends from NaNoWriMo,
I won’t be seein’ you as of tomorrow.

You’ll be obsessing over daily quotas,
And I won’t care more than — 2 iotas.

You’ll eschew that dreaded delete key,
And I will nap beneath a pine tree.

You’ll develop eye rings like bruises,
I’ll be cavorting with my muses.

In the end you’ll shelve that hurried novel,
And back to your family you’ll grovel.

Ultimately, my November’s happy,
While yours, I really have to think, is crappy.

22 comments on “It’s that time again … The NaNoWriMo Blues

  1. JA Goodsell
    October 31, 2016

    Lol! As someone not doing NaNo for the first time in a while, I really appreciate this. xD

    • Kevin Brennan
      October 31, 2016

      You’re a recovering NaNoid, eh? Glad you liked it!

  2. Phillip McCollum
    October 31, 2016

    Rage, Goddess, sing the rage of NaNoWriMo…

  3. John W. Howell
    October 31, 2016

    Ha ha ha. I enjoyed this.

  4. ericjbaker
    October 31, 2016

    I’m with ya, pal

  5. kingmidget
    October 31, 2016

    It was my first knowledge of NaNo that actually motivated me to start writing fiction. Around a dozen years ago, a friend told me about it. I had commented to her a number of times about my desire to see if I could write a novel, but had never been able to get past great opening lines. This friend told me about NaNo and it inspired me. On my drive home that night I outlined a story idea in my head and after dinner I started writing. Yes, one day early. I didn’t get the 50,000 words in, but I got 21,000 words in over the next month.

    I could never do that again. Back then I had no idea what I was doing and could just spew forth as NaNo requires. Now I think too much and edit too much as I write and the idea of just spewing forth words for the sake of the word count is something I just can’t do.

    I tried NaNo a couple of times over the years and never really got far. So I don’t even think about it anymore.

    Maybe once I’m retired and have more free time and can try to schedule an effort during the month of November, but I don’t think even then. I just don’t write that way.

    • Kevin Brennan
      November 1, 2016

      I agree — NaNo forces you to write in an unnatural way that might be great for pumping out a really rough draft but doesn’t make for a lot of freedom to explore the material. I like to write a lot of notes as I write a novel, just to let the ideas evolve, but if I were doing NaNo they’d go right out the window.

  6. Audrey Driscoll
    October 31, 2016

    Well said!
    By coincidence, I started writing my first novel in November 2000, just a year after NaNoWriMo started, but I’ve never “done” it. The dark months of the year are good ones in which to write, but there’s no need to cram all one’s efforts into just one. There is also December (Christmas notwithstanding), as well as January, February and March. I suppose the pressurizing effect of an artificial deadline works for some people, but the frantic speed at which those 50K words are cranked out means the rest of the winter must be spent rewriting the mess (if it hasn’t been abandoned in disgust). Why not just do it slower and better to start with?

    • Kevin Brennan
      November 1, 2016

      Yes! Winter would be a great novel-writing period. National Novel Writing Season. That’d give you time to flesh things out and let some spontaneity into the process.

      Also, novels aren’t 50,000 words long, are they? You’d have trouble getting an agent for a 50K word novel.

      Glorified Novella Writing Month?

  7. islandeditions
    November 1, 2016

    I wrote for this four years, completed 3 times writing the better part of drafts for 3 novels (none of which I have published, but they’re in the works) and completed several short stories in a planned collection, but did not reach the word count that year. It was a good kick-start for me and kept me writing, and editing, long after those years of Novembers spent writing first drafts. Na-No-Wri-Mo actually suits my motto, which is to “Write Fast, Edit Slow(ly)”. But I now leave it to much younger and more energetic writers to enter this and the 3-Day Novel Contest (that I entered 3 times, I think, and completed 3 novellas, one of which I have published). If you think of these events as a good kick in the pants to get your writing mojo working, and don’t kvetch over making the word count or getting your entry in so you can receive a badge for your blog, then you can actually make the most of the time you commit. I now have 4 good first drafts and a partial story collection, as well as a published book as a result of having entered previously. I’m not going to knock the process, but I won’t be participating any longer.

    • Kevin Brennan
      November 1, 2016

      It does seem to work for some people, who like to have a fire lit under them.

      I wonder how many novels written during NaNo come to fruition as published books …

      • islandeditions
        November 1, 2016

        And how many written that should not have come to fruition as published books … That thought makes me shudder!

      • Kevin Brennan
        November 1, 2016

        Good point!

  8. 1WriteWay
    November 2, 2016

    PFFFT! Yes, I’m at it again 😉

  9. cinthiaritchie
    November 2, 2016

    Totally, totally love this.
    I did NaNo last year and got the beginning of a novel started. Not sure how effective the whole process was. I’ll admit I wasn’t obsessed with getting in my word count. (As a rebel, I kind of enjoyed not getting in my daily word count, lol.) I think NaNo works for those needing a good kick in the butt. But for others? I don’t know. I’d rather write at my own pace, take my time and enjoy the whole process. Writing a bad novel fast isn’t as productive as writing a good novel in twice the amount of time. Though it could also be said that that that bad novel could easily be edited into something good so, who knows, eh?
    Still, I so, so enjoyed your little poem.

    • Kevin Brennan
      November 2, 2016

      Thanks, Cinthia! Glad you liked. I’m definitely not the kind of writer who’d be able to do NaNo. I’d start having characters quote huge chunks of Shakespeare or something to fill in the word count …

  10. curtisbausse
    November 3, 2016

    Never done it myself nor felt the need. I have different things on the go at different times and I’ve never once looked at my daily word count. But it might work for some, I guess. As you say in the comments, the interesting stat would be what becomes of all those November novels.

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This entry was posted on October 31, 2016 by in Writing and tagged , .
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