Someone asked me, “What’s the big deal about NaNo?”
I shrugged. I don’t get it, either!
Oh, sure, I tried NaNo once, several years ago; I wanted to “win.” Then I found out I didn’t actually “win” anything, just bragging rights. Well, okay then, not my style.
Speaking of style, with NaNo, you have to be committed. That’s not my style either. I mean, commitment, sure, but not to a particular word count each day. That’s not how I write—when the muse speaks, I write. Constantly, if that’s what she says, or sporadically. It depends.
Oh, yeah, back to the “winning” thing. If you complete the challenge, i.e., write 50K words, you win! Theoretically, you’ve now written a book. Except you kind of haven’t, as the average novel is 80K words. That’s almost two NaNos.
But a lot of people really enjoy the challenge, and for some, they might never start those books they’ve been wanting to write, if it weren’t for NaNo.
Most people I know divide out the 50K word count by 30 days, which gives them a daily goal of just over 1600 words. What many fail to consider, though, is that some days are busier than others, some days you may not have any inspiration whatsoever, and there’s also Thanksgiving . . .
When I did NaNo, I actually subtracted two days for Thanksgiving, since I’m the cook, and a day for my youngest son’s birthday; then I took off four more days for a “day off.” Now, granted, I never actually stayed in the game as far as Thanksgiving, but my goal each day was nearly 2200 words.
But here’s the thing: you can do this however you want, whenever you want; you’ve all read about the “best” way to write a book, but I’m telling you—it doesn’t matter, as long as you get it done. And if NaNo helps, that’s great! Besides, NaNo has cool stuff like community forums and write-ins and actual, real people get-togethers. So, if that’s your thing, go for it!
Funny, two years ago I was working on REUSED and it happened to be November. Didn’t even occur to me to sign up for NaNo because I was so focused on this sequel to REDUCED. I had written a couple pages or so in October, then got sidetracked and put it away. Just so happened that I pulled it back out on November 1st. I finished the entire thing on November 30, in spite of those aforementioned days off.
That put my daily word count at around 3300. And that’s pretty rough, especially when you have other things to do like, you know, a life. Of course, my third book, RECYCLED, didn’t come out until the following July. I think it took me that long to recover.
RECYCLED came in at 4000 words a day. Three weeks. So I had my own NaNo. In June.