Monday, October 17, 2011

To NaNo or Not To NaNo?

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is only two weeks away and I'm still not sure what I'm going to do about it.

I really should just skip it this year because I already have too many irons in the fire. I have several short stories I'm revising, a couple of new ones I'm drafting, plus several novels already languishing in the revision stage.

And time is a huge factor this year. With family commitments and medical issues, I've had to be a barracuda about carving out dedicated writing time as it is. Plus I've joined a writing group and a critique group, too, which takes another nip out of my already over-taxed schedule (and they both fall in that "sacred for writing" category, so there's no way I'm giving them up)!

There's another factor about it that's been weighing on my mind: do I really need another novel? I already have several half-written novels and a few in the revision stage. My inability to bring any of them to a finished state makes me wonder if I'm just not cut out to be a novelist. Maybe short stories and novellas are my calling. Not everyone can do both, and maybe that's the case with me. I haven't given up on noveling, yet, but I probably shouldn't start a new one until I at least finish one of the others.

Of course, if I don't do NaNo, I'm going to feel like I'm missing out. I enjoy the challenge. I like having a definite daily goal that I'm accountable for. You can make a deadline and goal on your own of course, but it seems weak and less urgent to say, "I set a goal of . . .," as opposed to "I have to get in 1667 words today for Nano." It seems to make it more official, more urgent. And, of course, there's the camaraderie of knowing that a whole lot of other writing maniacs are struggling right alongside you, all over the world.

I am thinking of compromise. I'm considering writing a novel of short stories. In a way, it would be like melding Story-A-Day with NaNoWriMo. I can either write the stories as a series (they all have a thread through them--same setting, same characters, etc.--but are stand-alone stories, too. Or I could write it as just a collection of short stories with no thread tying them together (a single author short-story collection). At the end, I can revise and polish them and either send them out as individual shorts or try to have them published as a collection (which I've heard is difficult, but I guess I won't know for sure until I try).

I'm still not sure which way I'm going to go: write a novel for NaNo, skip NaNo, or write a short story collection for NaNo. But I'd better make up my mind pretty quick!

Are you doing NaNo this year?

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