To NaNo or Not To NaNo: That is the Question

I don’t know if you’ve heard of this thing called NaNoWriMo.  It stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It’s in November every year, and it challenges people to have always had the dream to write a novel to actually sit their butt in chair and write one.  (That’s a thing that we authors say.  Butt in Chair.  Meaning, stop procrastinating.  Stop cleaning out the closet, and the fridge, and the pantry, and all the other things you can possibly do and sit your butt in your chair and write.)  Also, it kind of reminds me of Mork from Mork and Mindy.  Na-Noo-Na-Noo.  That's reason enough to do it.

Ever since I’ve heard of NaNoWriMo, I’ve kinda wanted to do it.  Writing Beside the Music took me about five years of writing during every lunch hour, on weekends, evenings, early mornings.  But I was so sporadic about it.  I didn’t have a daily schedule I adhered to.  I wrote the first draft in a lime green journal given to me by a friend that I carried in my purse.  I wrote long hand when I’d wait for Todd to meet me for dinner, or if I had a spare minute I’d jot down a paragraph here and there at work. 

But the thing I am definitely struggling with is discipline to get my next book out there.  And that’s what authors have to do.  Publish or perish, right?  Perishing is not an option for me, so I have to do the other one.  But I don’t want to take five years again. 

I looked at the NaNoWriMo web site to get the details.  Basically I’d need to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November.  You have to post what you write on their site every day so their monkeys can count the words and make sure that you’re keeping pace with the challenge.  A 50,000 word work equates to 1,666.6666666 words per day, every single day for the month of November.

Every. Single. Day.  Then I start to panic at that thought.  What do you mean every single day?  I have a life.  Hell, I don’t even exercise every single day.  I don’t even work at my day job every single day.  I want to go out and do things.  And then there’s Thanksgiving.  And we don’t really do Thanksgiving on the Thursday, we actually hold a Friendsgiving party on the Friday instead.  And it’s so much work to prepare for that.  Well, kind of.  Todd does ALL the cooking.  I just run around getting the house ready.  I have to travel for work for a week in November.  Who has time to write every single day in November?

See what I am doing?  Get me a paper bag, I need to breathe into it.  I am hyperventilating.  I am throwing up obstacles before I even start.  I hate that I do that.

But then I remembered a joke I once told a friend.  Writing a novel is the nerd equivalent to running a marathon.  I have actually run a marathon.  It took six months to train for it.  Six months of running excruciatingly long distances almost every day.  I traveled for work during the training period and I ran 10 miles before work on a few occasions.  If I can do that, why couldn’t I write less than 2,000 words each day?  And why couldn’t I plan it out and write 4,000 words one day to cover the next two days?

That’s it.  I’m going to NaNo! 


BJ Knapp is the author of Beside the Music, available for purchase here. Please sign up for the Backstage with BJ Knapp mailing list to get updates on events, signings, dog pictures and so much more.

added on 09.25.17

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