November is upon us again, which means Christmas is right around the corner. But first, we have National Novel Writing Month, an event that just about everyone in the writing community has heard of. For those of you who haven’t, NaNoWriMo is a month where people from all walks of life attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.
In many ways, it’s a great event. It encourages people to get into the habit of writing every day, to start (or finish) projects they’ve been putting off, and even to forge connections within the writing community. So why am I not participating in such an awesome event? Here are a few reasons:
- The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to write a novel. I’ve already got four novels on the go. Drafts for all four are complete and in various stages of re-writing/editing. The last thing I need is for another project to distract me.
- The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to develop consistent writing habits. I already spend 40-80 hours a week writing and editing. When drafting a novel, I average 10,000 words a day. When re-writing/editing, I average 1,000 words a day (depending on the quality of the original work; sometimes I can edit up to 4,000). In short, my habits are solid.
Editing an existing novel is a perfectly acceptable project for NaNoWriMo but, while it’s possible I’ll edit 50,000 words during November, I don’t count that as “participating” because that’s basically just another month for me. And if I only reach 30,000 words edited, I won’t be disappointed because I’d rather get it right the first time than rush things and end up with a substandard series of edits just so I can say I “won” the challenge.