Category Archives: Justsayno

Learning to say no: NoNoWriMo

I’m taking a stand, daring to say no. 1667 words and a 17 chapter outline later, I’m declaring this November to be Not Novel Writing Month.

Far and wide across the lands, hundreds of thousands of people are embarking on a noveling journey. Why? Because November is National Novel Writing Month – time to throw caution aside and recklessly write a novel in a month.

Nanowrimo.org explains it much sexier than I could:

What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month’s time.

Who: You! We can’t do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let’s write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To give yourself permission to write without obsessing over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To stop being one of those people who say, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel,” and become one of those people who can say, “Oh, a novel? It’s such a funny story–I’ve written three.”

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins 12:00:01 November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at 11:59:59. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

What bookworm nerd girl could say no to all that?

Well, after writing my first novel in 2009, and a second in 2010, I’m putting my foot down. I have other goals this month, and to achieve them I’m going to have to learn to say no. It’s not really a matter of time – I could certainly carve out writing sessions throughout my day – it’s just that I (yes, even I) only have so many psychological resources. If I’m really going to start a business and/or work on my social skills and/or blog more, I need to say no to mentally draining activities like this. Maybe I could train for a triathlon or take up yoga, but NO NOVEL WRITING!

Can you tell that I’m trying to reinforce this to myself? You might think it’s too late for me since we are well into the month. But in November 2010, after 20 days of actively NOT writing a novel, I gave in to the gnawing anxiety that I was going to die with my music inside and thusly wrote the entire thing in 10 days. Not this year. This year I’m going to utterly dominate at SAYING NO!

(Coming soon, another post on why I love Nanowrimo and what it’s taught me about life.  Don’t worry though, I’m not writing a novel even if I remember how awesome it is.)