To NaNo or Not To NaNo?

I have participated twice in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), once in 2007 and once in 2009 (I think).  I won both–meaning I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days.  The 2007 entry currently sits at around 65,000 words and has not been finished–I know how it ends, I just haven’t gotten back to it–and the 2009 entry (called “The Uprising”) was a complete novel (novella, whatever).  I have not participated since.  This is partly because I wasn’t really in a good place for those first two years (from 2009 through 2011, we were actively trying to leave South Crazylina and I was hating life because I was stuck there).  In November, 2011, we were moving to Virginia, so even if I’d wanted to participate, I couldn’t.  Then in 2012 and 2013, I was so busy with school and work that I didn’t have the time.

So now it’s 2014.  I’m thinking about participating this year, and I have two ideas.  The first of these is a story idea I’ve had for a few years, it would be fun to write and is all set to go.  The second idea is new, so it hasn’t had time to ferment in my mind.  It would be fun to write, and I know the setup and the middle of the story, but I don’t know the ending.  It would be fun to write, but I’d be scared to go into it and have no clear idea of where the ending is.  So, I would probably write the first one, letting the second one percolate in my tiny little brain until it was more fleshed out.

And yet I’m hesitant to commit to NaNoWriMo this year.  Part of it is the depression that is now unmedicated.  Mainly, though, I think it’s because I’m not sure I want to commit a big block of time to something again right now.  As explanation:  for the past three and a half years, I have been attending school to obtain a second bachelors degree.  Since the move out of South Crazylina, I have been able to actually get jobs, and between those jobs and school, I have not had a lot of time for myself.  When I would be done with work, I’d have to spend the next few hours doing schoolwork.  I was exhausted at the end of most days, and would usually spend the weekend either studying or sleeping.  In September, I finished and have been trying to catch up on things that I let slide since.  I have been using some of this new-found free time to study for some certifications that I hope will help me land a full-time job, and I’m afraid to commit to the writing project right now for fear of falling into exhaustion again.

I do want to play NaNo this year (since it has been five years and I’ll get to meet new people in a new region), but that time commitment looks really big.  What do you think?  Say what you want; I’ll appreciate the advice, but I will reserve the final judgment.

P.S.  Internet Explorer is REALLY SLOW  in here.

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1 Comment

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One response to “To NaNo or Not To NaNo?

  1. Honest answer: I think if you’re feeling the time commitment is too big this year, you should take another year off. You know that I’m always looking for new Eric Bauman fiction — but I never want it at the cost of your mental well-being. You’ve been under a mountain of pressure, and you’re in the midst of figuring out how to navigate depression without attendant medication; that’s still a lot to deal with on top of the pressure to put out 50k in 30 days (and the feelings of disappointment and failure that go along with not hitting the 50k will add to that. I know everyone says “it’s the attempt, not the win,” but even when I say “hey, at least I wrote 25k this month” I’m feeling like a failure because I didn’t ‘get the job done,’ and I know you process those kinds of feelings the same way I do).

    Like you said, the ultimate decision is up to you, but that’s my two cents. (For what it’s worth, I haven’t decided if I’m participating this year myself.)

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