November is approaching, and though you didn’t ask me, I’m sharing that I won’t be doing Nanowrimo this year, for a few reasons.
I’ve done it and “won” several times, including the last three years in a row. Each of those three times, it took on a different form than the standard.
In 2012 after much consideration, I used Nano to begin what at that time was to be Novel 2. That was not the original intention, but I had the outline, I hadn’t started, and November was approaching. I had hoped it would give the project a jump start. I reached the word count, but ultimately I shelved Novel 2.
The following year, I undertook what I consider my greatest Nano challenge of them all so far. I was determined to not just get to the word count, but to finish the entire story in a month as well. I’d never done that before. It was the most exciting, high-pressure Nano since my first ever attempt at same. And I did it! My first ever mystery novel was born from that experience; a novel I intend to one day edit and make available. (Stay tuned on that.)
Then last year I openly decided to be a Nano Rebel, as they call it. I opted for 50,000 words spread over a short story collection with a common theme. And again, I’m proud to say, I did it. Reached the word count and got I think 11 stories out of it. All but one I found worthy of keeping, and editing. That collection may also someday be available in ebook form, again stay tuned.
Now here we are this year and…I’m not doing it.
One reason is that I need a break from it, i think. I’ll miss certain aspects of it, but there are some other things I want to be working on next month, so it’s for the best.
Secondly, I wonder if there is anywhere left for me to go with Nano. I have proven I can write 50,000 words in thirty days. I have proven I can write an entire plot with those 50,000 words in 30 days. (Though I don’t think I want to put myself through that again!) And I have proven that I can write a short story collection of 50,000 words in 30 days. There isn’t much left to “prove,” to myself, is there?
Not that proof is the be all and end all of such things. Fun and creativity is, and I have certainly achieved that as well over the years. But unless I personally upped the word limit several thousand words, to see if I could still finish in 30 days, I don’t know if there are many ways to make it different, and still remain in fiction. (As in, not moving into poetry or screenwriting or something, which to me are totally different animals anyway.)
The one idea I thought could be different enough would be to repeat the Rebel short story idea, only without having a common theme between the stories. The common theme does allow a sort of beacon by which thoughts can be focused, and time shaved off. I gave the briefest of considerations to doing this, but as I said, I need a break and have other things I want to do with those 30 days.
So maybe I have a structure for next year, or some other future Nano, I don’t know. It’s not that different from what I have already done. Short stories equaling 50,000 words in a month; I’ve done it.
I start to wonder if I’ve reached the ultimate end of the road for Nanowrimo. It has been an invaluable tool to me over the years, forever changing and improving the way I approach new fiction projects. I will always have that from it. And assuming I live a long, healthy life, (which of course I hope to!) there are many Novembers remaining. Too many to say anything for certain. Yet to be honest, it may be time to put Nanowrimo behind me, and find different types of challenges.
Maybe not…but certainly for this year.