That’s the 50,000 word question. More specifically (yet in less than 50,000 words), I mean to ask whether or not to participate in this year’s National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. In general I’m positive on NaNoWriMo. If you’ve never written a novel but always wanted to, I highly recommend it. Either it will give you the kick in the pants to actually put in the effort, or it will force you to admit that after all these years, you don’t really like to write after all.
But I’m in a very different situation.
I’ve already written a novel. (BTW, that’s it on the right-hand column. Go buy a copy so that I can eat lunch.) In fact, I’ve already written three novels, and I’m rapidly closing in on the end of my fourth. I don’t need NaNoWriMo to find out if I can finally write that book.
What’s more, I have a pretty full writing schedule right now, and a number of my required tasks should realistically take priority over starting a new draft. First, I really do need to finish the draft of Debts of my Fathers. My original plan schedule had been to finish it in July, but as I’ve said elsewhere, I hit a snag. Second, I have first-reader comments back on Ships of My Fathers, and I need to make another editing pass on that, polish it, send it to my proofreader, and then start pushing it through the publishing process – something I had planned to do this calendar year. And third, I still have to do the edits to Hell Bent and get it out the door to first readers. Those tasks could probably eat up most of my writing time for the rest of the year.
Plus, this November is going to have less free time for me than previous years. I’m looking for a new job (mad C++ skills if anyone has a spot), and my wife may have to do some travelling this coming month. Add to that the ongoing demands of special needs kids, some teaching that I do, and a decent social life, and it’s going to be hard to make the time to do NaNoWriMo on top of all the rest of the writing-related work on the three projects already in progress.
NaNoWriMo is an adrenaline rush for mad creativity junkies like me. It’s a blast. It’s some of the most fun I’ve had out of the bedroom. Hell, considering that I’ve done some of it on my laptop in bed, I suppose it also counts as some of the most fun I’ve had there too. There’s something about it that just sucks me in and squeezes those creative juices into a tangy fiction cocktail with just enough sweetness to cover the raw grain alcohol underneath. It’s heady stuff, and it’s hard to walk past it without at least taking a sniff.
I actually have a project in mind. By my original schedule, I was going to start it in October. It’s the sequel to Hell Bent, and my plan was to do the first-pass edits to that novel in September, so that in October I would be fully steeped in the character and universe and ready to go. As it is, I still haven’t done those edits yet. And of course, I was going to do the Ships of My Fathers work first while the draft of Debts of My Fathers was still fresh, allowing me to go back and drop in any details to the earlier work that were needed to set up the sequel.
Which brings me right back to where I was before: needing to be the responsible professional and do the scheduled work first.
So, right now I’m all over the map and completely undecided. With a day to go, I honestly have no idea whether I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo or not.
I guess we’ll see what happens Thursday morning.