November 1, 2019

Should you join Nanowrimo if you’re in the middle of writing a book already?

We all know that if you’ve never written a novel before, November has become the month to start, thanks to Nanowrimo. But what if you have written a novel before–or at least, already started one? What if you’re already in the middle of writing a novel? Is it useful for you to join in all the fun and gather a group of writing buddies? And even if it’s not really useful, what if you just can’t resist?

I’ve learned the hard way — I didn’t know it was the hard way, but believe me, it was –– that the first thing you might think of is the last thing you should do. If the first thing you think of, that is, is what I thought of, to start an entirely new novel just for November. I’ve done this before, and I won’t say it was a waste of time, because writing a novel is never a waste of time, but it wasn’t what I really should have been doing.

So this year I’m going to resist any new projects. I have multiple projects I need to apply my limited time to completing. And that’s what I’m going to do. But. (Ha ha. You knew there was a ‘but’, right?) That’s right, I am still going to try to join my fellow writers this November–without interrupting the project that I already have in progress!

It’s an experiment, so I’m not making any promises this will work for you or even for me. But I will share my plans in case you wanted to try something similar. We could both see how it turns out together! (If it goes badly, you can blame me; I will blame goblins.)

I already have 25,000 words. This is for a book that I project will be a minimum of 70,000 words and possibly as many as 120,000 words. I’ve had to start over on this particular book several times, because of Outline Issues; it’s not a new project in any sense. So the first thing you can see is that it’s not likely to be finished in one month. But the fact that a book takes you two or three months or even a year to finish doesn’t mean you should not work on it. It certainly doesn’t mean you should ignore or regret if you’ve already put 25,000 words on it.

I am not going to count those 25,000 words for Nanowrimo, however. That wouldn’t be in the spirit of Nano. I’m not going to discard them or ignore them either. I will simply open a file for the next chapter, the one not yet written, and that’s where I will begin my account today–-with whatever writing I finish by the end of today on this new section of the book. From this point forward I count all my wordage exactly as I would count the words for an entirely new project. It’s simple. It’s elegant. Hopefully, it will allow me to accrue all the benefits of Nanowrimo, such as camaraderie and encouragement to-and-fro other authors, while not interrupting my workflow.

I think a similar method could apply for writers who are working on projects shorter than 50,000 words as well. Four instance if I were working on a novella, I would try to finish two or three novellas in the same period, depending on the word length of the novella in question.

So there you have it folks: my plan. If you’re in the same boat, or a completely different boat, but you would like to buddy me on Nanowrimo this year (2019), you can find me under the handle: taramaya88

Tara Maya

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