What am I doing?

Posted on 01 November 2010

When I started writing this post, it had an entirely different message. See that little green gummi bear? That was supposed to be me, feeling left out because I’m not doing NaNoWriMo even though it seems like everyone else in the world is.

I’ve never done NaNoWriMo. I’ve been telling myself that I should give it a shot “sometime” or “maybe next year” since around 2003. But it hasn’t happened, and I definitely didn’t plan on it happening this year, either. I have too much to work on — novel revisions, a new short story, etc. I’m possessive with my time and I didn’t want to set my other projects aside for an entire month, especially for a “novel” that I would never expect to whip into shape for publication.

Plus, I already maintain a disciplined writing schedule, so I didn’t feel I needed NaNoWriMo to kick myself into gear. (I realize that that’s not the entire point of NaNoWriMo, but still.) And I already proved to myself I could write not 50,000 but 60,000 words in one month.

But then I found the Cleveland group on NaNoWriMo and discovered that over 1,200 people are registered. And I don’t know. I kind of want to join the party. So why not? Sure, I don’t have the time and I’m probably setting myself up for failure, but for once I don’t want to say “Maybe next year.” I’m just going to do it.

Oh God what am I doing.

My goals:

  • Write a full, crappy draft of a 50,000-word novella.
  • Write with the knowledge that this is not something that I’ll ever plan to revise, rewrite, or publish. It’s purely for fun, and totally free of thoughts about publication or marketability or reader response.
  • Try, if possible, to write something I typically don’t write — like YA, or middle grade, dystopian fantasy, etc.
  • Make the plot as ridiculous as possible.

The Rules

  • Don’t plan. Just type. Who cares if it makes sense or not? This is for fun.
  • Other projects take precedence this month. That includes my (real) novel revisions, the novel I’m reading as a beta reader for my writing buddy, and the new short story I hope to complete. Also, I think it goes without saying that little things like my job and my relationships come before my NaNoWriMo novel.
  • Not the dishes, though. I think I can use NaNoWriMo as an excuse to not wash dishes.
  • I won’t beat myself up if I don’t finish. Realistically, looking at the amount of time I have and my priorities, I kind of can’t imagine how I could finish it. But I’ll try.
  • No stress crying this time! It’s not worth it.


While I realize I might come back to these words in a month and laugh at my optimism, I secretly wonder if this won’t be so hard. If I’m writing something truly ridiculous, 100% for fun that I won’t ever plan to show anybody else, there’s no pressure. I’m capable of writing very quickly, and if you take away the pressure and the subtle “what would other people think when they read this” aspect, I’m guessing I can type away pretty freely. Last January, I wrote those 60,000 words on a novel that I really cared about while making a conscious effort to move the plot forward, to carefully craft the language, etc. So who’s to say I won’t write even faster if my standards aren’t as high?

And they definitely won’t be as high. We’re talking low, low standards, people. We’re talking “Oh look, here comes a talking cat” if I get stuck on the plot. We’re talking trainwreck. And I intend to have fun with it.

I’m not going to stress out over this or schedule a daily word count. I won’t even get nervous if November is halfway over and I’m not very far along. Heck, I have a four-day weekend over Thanksgiving. I could probably write half the novel then, right?

Don’t worry, this isn’t something I plan to blog extensively about, and I also won’t show this “novel” to anyone — even in a “Who wrote the worst NaNoWriMo novel?” contest. This is just for me, as an experiment.

Even so, I guess that green gummi bear should go join the others now.

Photo: Ani-Bee

8 responses to What am I doing?

  • margosita says:

    No, now it’s just me that is the green gummy bear…

    GOOD LUCK! I think you’re approaching it with just the right attitude. :)

  • Daniel says:

    What? No… I’d be curious to read your November novel. I’m trying to go to the NaNoWriMo website, but it keeps erroring out on me. I get the feeling I need to update my browser, but my IT department has that locked down pretty tight here.

    Not that I’m at work. Or anything.


    Just so I can understand, you’re going to attempt to free-write a novel from start to finish, without going back and revising, and that’s it?

    I’d be liable to join in, but… I took up knitting three days ago, so I’m making that my November priority.

  • Aeriale says:

    Laura –

    You’re awesome. Although I wrote that post with slight intentions of participating in NaNoWriMo this year, I have decided not to. Green Gummy Bear Me. Good luck to you, though! Do have fun with it! And please, keep me updated on how it goes ;)

  • Now I feel like the green gummi bear again because out of this group, I am the only person actually doing NaNoWriMo. :)

    Daniel, the NaNoWriMo site has been incredibly slow. I think it’s because it’s the first day. Maybe it will settle down soon. And yep, that’s basically the plan — just sit down and spew out a novel. Some people do plan out the plot in advance, or at least try to craft some of it carefully, but based on my time limits I am literally putting fingers to keyboard and not stopping once I start typing every session.

    I wrote over 2,000 words today (in like, 40 minutes? Not sure, but it was fast) and I have to admit it was a little tough on my ego at first to put down words so amazingly bad. But it’s all a journey, right?

  • Regan Leigh says:

    YAY! You joined the party. :D (I’ve never done it before and I’m terrified at what my end product will be. I don’t have a problem with word count, I just need to start a new project asap. :))

  • This is my first Nanowrimo too. I must have heard about it around the time that you did; and, I professed to do it year after year as well. I have never written a novel so writing every day has been a rewarding experience so far.

    I do need someone to kick me so I can be accountable so this is working well for me. I have so many social events that I get side tracked. I even left even my blogging behind.

    Best of luck.

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