To NaNo 2020 or Not to NaNo 2020

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National Novel Writing Month begins 1 November. I’ve spent the past week arguing whether I should take part this year. I’ve participated in both NaNo and CampNaNo since at least 2018 and always found it the experience worth my time and effort. 2020 is different. We know nothing will be what it as it was before COVID, but is my writing life so different that I can’t take part this year? 

Hint: I decided to NaNo, but I bet there are many of you rethinking your writing and wondering if you want to take part. Here are a few of the arguments I used, let’s see if they will help you decide.

Benefits of participation – instant community of people doing the same thing – writing. It’s amazing how community inspires and boosts determination to complete a project.

NaNo Rebels are people who use NaNoWrMo to complete projects, so it’s not cheating to do that. This is where I am. I have a book “almost” done, another that needs just “a few” scenes to make it complete, and at least four shorts “mostly” written. If I write 50,000 words in November, I’d have five projects ready for editing.

However: NaNo before COVID meant meeting with writers in coffee/tea shops, restaurants, libraries, and bookstores just to sit and write. Gathering creates a great source of energy and inspiration – not to mention the friendly peer pressure to write. Meeting online doesn’t do it for me. Maybe in time, it will, but I like to put my butt in different chairs now and then to write. It gives me a boost.

Even if I don’t make the 50,000 words by the end of November, I’ll be much closer to having all these projects shift to editing than I am now.

There are disadvantages of participating in NaNo. They are real. Confession – I’ve never completed a NaNo project in November. Do I feel bad that I haven’t. No.

There is a certain amount of pressure to keep up with writing schedule, but I’m only competing with myself, and I consider myself a fair and compassionate player in any game.

After a month of write, write, write, there isn’t always a novel. However, I’ve always have pages and pages of material to use later.

Clearly, I favor participation. The word count alone here proved to me I want to and will take part. I hope you do to.

Sans COVID: What will NaNo be like? Now is the most important moment. Let’s live it like we mean it.

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