This has been on and off in my head for a while now. October is just around the corner, and November soon after that. The time to decide is now: Do I set myself up for another failed NaNoWriMo?
November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. Every November, writers and aspiring writers go for a mad dash to 50,000 words–a novel–by the end of the month. That’s around 1,667 words a day. There is no entrance fee, there are no prizes. None except the exhilaration of accomplishment and a first draft of a novel.
Or not. (As in my case.)
The earliest NaNo “manuscript” I have is 2002. I haven’t joined every year, because some years I feel kinder to myself and opt not to fail again by not even starting.
The sprint to 50,000, but ending in around 21,000
So what went wrong all those times? I’m not entirely sure. Everyone loses steam at some point in November, but not everyone who loses steam fails to turn in the 50,000. At some point, I’ve just always ended up not finishing.
- Story 1 (plus at least one more): a story I don’t know anymore. It’s been that long. An “original” story, one I haven’t worked on before. A failure. I have notes scattered here and there, but it never got very far.
- Story 2: a rewrite of Chimerage, the story I wrote back in high school for the school newspaper. It spawned a trilogy after the initial, standalone story, which of course was not as good as the original. I thought to get down and dirty, and rewrite it. Uh, failure.
- Story 3: a semi-autobiographical story of a certain portion of my life. Almost strictly for personal perusal, I got the idea from the fact that I do a lot of journal writing. A journal-writing-style novel would be easy to do, right? Uh, no. Too close for comfort. Emotional upheaval. Fail.
So, um. Out of ideas. Why is 50,000 words of substandard frenzied writing so difficult to do when I can write 2,000 word journal entries without blinking an eye? (Not really, but you know what I mean.)
Proof that I am crazy
Yes, I am crazy. I must be a masochistic this year, as well, because I’ve decided to give it a shot. 50,000 words in 30 days. 1,700 words a day.
What story? A completely new one. One that I’ve wanted to write for some time now, but I kept putting it off because I didn’t have enough research done. It’s semi-historical in nature, so while I know I could never make every single detail just right, I didn’t want to rush in blindly. Sadly, the research I needed was research I could only really do in the Philippines. There are likely some texts and information I can get online, but very little, and not all reliable. I can sense that most, if not all, of whatever I write for this story would be useless.
Then why even bother?
Because if I don’t bother now, when? I’ll never have the luxury of time to do enough research. And once I get into research mode, I’ll just do that–research. There won’t be enough, because it will always be vague, as histories go. So my story won’t be strictly historical. Well, maybe that’s all right. Maybe I can rectify things later on. Maybe.
But for now, it’s time to try again.