I'm at Lia's...and why I'm saying no to NaNo

First off, please stop by my interview on Thursday at Lia's blog!

Secondly, I'm bowing out of NaNo. In retrospect, writing a 20K novella in the 2 weeks before NaNo didn't exactly get me off to a good start, but I needed to get that draft, the followup to Full Disclosure, finished. It still needs revisions, and I have many, many projects in various stages of completion. With the release of my first book this month, and all the various promotion-related things that come with that, adding NaNo into the mix was just too much. I have a day job that gets a lot busier this time of year, along with a job freelance editing, and well, something had to give. And my sanity was not an option.

The good news? The 16K I have of my NaNo Blaze, Heat Lightning, is pretty solid, I think. The story's off to a very good start and I'm going to keep going with it at the reasonable pace of 1K a day, 7 days a week. That will keep the writing muscles oiled without adding yet another stressor to my life. And seriously, life's just too short. Writing, even though it's become a business for me, too, is a stress reliever. But if I'm fighting with myself and feeling pressured and guilty to get words on a page without the promise of a check when I'm finished, I need to re-evaluate. And I have.

I think NaNo's a great thing for a lot of writers, but really, quality ALWAYS trumps quantity. Sure, sometimes you find hidden gems you never realized were there when you're writing furiously. You also write a fair share of clunker pages, because you've got one eye on the clock. I believe firmly in setting goals and following deadlines. I need them. But I think it's important to focus on the end result and how much work you want to put into it once all is said and done. I'm very happy what I've written so far is in solid shape (and one of my CPs has verified this, so I'm not totally nuts) which means this month's writing was far from a waste. 

Now to keep going.

Will I do NaNo next year? Not sure, but I'm leaning toward no. But never say never!

Good luck to everyone still doing NaNo! There's a lot of month left! 

Me, I'll keep plodding along with my daily 1K. ;)


Lynne Roberts said...

I'm so glad to hear you say it--not that you're overwhelmed, but that you let yourself say enough.

It's easy for a writer to forget time is finite. At least this writer.

NaNo sounded fun, but I knew I had edits coming up... my life is hectic on a calm day, and I've been short of calm days.

I had to say no, too.

Like you, I never say never. Maybe next November, I'll have a bright, shiny idea to explore and less on my plate.

And hey, 1K is nothing to sneeze at.


J.A. Saare said...

Hey Cari,

I'm with you on the "quality" v/s "quality" thing, which is why I'm bowing out of NaNo was well. (Need to take my ticker down!) I will continue to work on the story and hope those that said they'd give it read have time in the future for me when it's ready. I don't want to produce something half-assed just to say, "I did it!" If you know what I mean.

Going over to Lia's now!

Kaye Manro said...

Very well said, Cari! I think you are making the right choice. Frankly, I don't know how some of us even write with all the other things we have to do! So take it back like it was-- fun, even if it is a business now. The stress is not worth it.

Shelley Munro said...


I've never done NaNo, simply because I know that pushing myself too hard leads to trouble. I usually write 2000 words a day anyway when I'm in writing mode. Signing up for something like NaNo is just that little bit of pressure that I don't need.

Helen Hardt said...

Did you read my blog yesterday? NaNo for me, this year, has become an albatross. Maybe because so much else is going on.

I had major success with NaNo in 07 and 08. This year? Not so much. I will finish, but next year, I may just say no.

Heading over to Lia's!

Kaily Hart said...

Cari, although I didn't participate I figure the process of NaNo just isn't for me. I know I would probably just write crap to get the word count and that's not what I want. When I'm on a roll I can really produce and when I can't? Well, I would prefer to do something more productive like editing or plotting or blogging :). I'm just on a roll usually every day of the week! Glad to see you have some realistic perspective with it. I think everyone needs to find a way to make it work for them.