Tuesday, October 31, 2023

IWSG - November

It's the first Wednesday in November, so it's time for the Insecure Writers Support Group! 

The awesome co-hosts for this month are PJ Colando, Jean Davis, Lisa Buie Collard, and Diedre Knight!

And this months's question?

 November is National Novel Writing Month. Have you ever participated? If not, why not?

Why, yes.  Yes I have.  I have participated several times.  NaNo suits the way I like to write - draft fast, edit slowly.  Many of my published books (and several unpublished ones) started their lives as NaNo projects. I love the time pressure and the fact that you basically have to live your November inside your story to be able to pump out 50,000 words in 30 days.

But I know that kind kind of writing doesn't suit everyone.  One of my critique partners couldn't even bear the thought of doing NaNo because she liked to get every chapter right before she moved on to the next one.  NaNo doesn't let you do that.  And to her credit, her first drafts were always a thing of beauty because of the way she polished each chapter as she went.  She also outlined extensively before she started writing, so she knew exactly what was going to happen in each chapter before she got there.

I don't usually even break my books into chapters until I'm right at the end of the editing process.

So NaNo isn't for everyone.  But if you can overcome that urge to go back over what you've written before you start, silence that inner editor and give yourself over to the restive process, then it's a really good way to get words on a page.  Get that story out of your head and into a form you can start working on it.

I like to think of a NaNo draft as a zero draft.  It's never going to be perfect or even very good.  But at the end of November you have something you didn't have at the start, and there's a lot to be said for that.  Even if you don't "win" you have more than the blank page you started with.

Have you ever done NaNo?  Love it?  Hate it?


  1. I'm like your critique partner. I couldn't bear the thought of trying NaNo. I'm too slow of a writer and like to revise as I work in the next chapter. I'm glad it helps you.

  2. I love NaNo. When I first started participating, I used it to experiment with new genres. Now I tend to use it for the time pressure element as I attempt to finish drafts. Emphasis on 'attempt'.

    Always a good time, though.

  3. NaNo has never worked with how I like to write. I don't write all that slowly but I'm so particular on how I do it, it just doesn't work.

  4. Nano doesn't suit me. I think it has to do with the fact that when I learned about it, I was mid-book, so I didn't join. By the time the next year rolled around, I was more set in my ways of writing and cranking out 50K in a month wasn't it.

  5. I don't break my novels into chapters until the end either! In fact, I tend to send them to my publisher without chapter breaks.