I’m in awe of writers who can do NaNoWriMo or any other book-in-a-month endeavor. I wish I could spew forth 50,000 words in four weeks and wind up with something salvageable. I’ve tried in the past to convince myself I could do it. If only I had the idea for the plot. The outline for the plot. The turning points, goals, motivations, conflicts, and black moment all lined up like newly-sharpened pencils next to my computer.
But therein lies my problem. NaNo is based on pantsing. I can pants to a point. But I live November in fear of pantsing myself right out of a whole month’s worth of writing time. Just as I don’t like surprises in real life and have a tendency to plan things to death, complete with checklists, I don’t like big surprises in my writing. Little surprises are fun, but big ones bother me. I’m not what you’d call spontaneous. To me, anticipation is half the fun. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
There’s also the issue of pressure. Now, I work well under pressure. Click a stopwatch and I can do an hour’s worth of work in fifteen minutes. But I can also crack under pressure. If I start slipping behind and the daily word count deficiencies keep adding up, I spend more time obsessing about that than I do writing. I refuse to set myself up for failure.
Not every writing method works for every writer. So instead of feeling disappointed about missing the party, I will cheer on my friends who do NaNo and admire from afar everyone who makes it to the end. But for me, NaNo is a big NoNo, and I can accept that. If you feel the same way, it’s OK. Trust me. Just spend November doing what you’ve been doing (assuming that’s writing at some pace). If I remember correctly, the tortoise won the race.