I have never officially participated in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. I did once write much of a novel between mid-October and mid-November, but not with any of the word count targets or social media fun. I am weighing doing it this year, but there are arguments for and against.
For: I can. I know that with any book, the hardest part is cranking out the first draft. It is much more pleasant and easy for me to turn something into something decent than to create the something in the first place. A stunt like NaNoWriMo forces you to get things down, rather than worrying about quality. Quantity can become quality later. November might be rough, but I will be thanking myself, as a writer, come December 1st.
The timing is also good. The baby comes in January, and while I can edit with a newborn, cranking out drafts is harder. My novel, The Cortlandt Boys, is in the process of e-book production (with a likely December pub date!) and Their Own Sweet Time (that’s the Amazon pre-order page!) comes out in May or June. It’s moving into the copy-editing/production phase as well. I still have another 2 rounds of edits to go on it, but they won’t be major at this point. So if I want to write another novel to play around with, then November would be a good time.
I also like the accountability aspect. It’s fun to be part of a writing group, and 400,000 writers (including a number of readers of this blog) will be participating. I can write a novel on my own, but I wouldn’t mind the social support.
Against: I’m busy. September and October have kind of kicked my butt. Granted, that’s because of the books mentioned, above, which are mostly done at this point. But I still have plenty of other projects going on. I keep a running file labeled with its starting date in which I have notes, rough drafts, etc. As of October 20 as I’m writing this, the file labeled October 5 has 25,000 words in it. In 15 days, I’ve done half of the NaNoWriMo equivalent, meaning I probably hit 50,000 words/month already. And that doesn’t even count the edits I make in projects with their own files (books, etc.)
I also don’t have a great novel idea. Oh, I know the book on NaNoWriMo is called No Plot, No Problem. I can figure it out as I go or I can figure it out in the days before November 1st. Nonetheless if I don’t have a story I’m dying to tell, this is going to make the whole thing tougher.
We will see what I wind up deciding!