To Nano or Not To Nano

 That is the question.  Yeah, yeah, mild apologies for the bad allusion, but that really is the question I’m sitting with.

So the other day I wrote about how I felt encouraged to move up my schedule after reading a post by Hugh Howey.  Then I wrote about forging ahead with my outline for AH2 and in response, one of my writer friends posted a comment asking me if I was going to to do Camp Nano and I started thinking about it.

For those of you who don’t know what Nano is, it’s short for NaNoWriMo, which itself is short for National Novel Writing Month.  November is the official National Novel Writing Month.  The website that promotes it self-describes as a “seat-of-your pants approach to novel writing.”  Basically you set a word goal (they suggest 50,000), get your own progress meter, some online Nano buddies for support, and off you go with the goal of writing a novel in a month.  Sounds crazy and fun.

Ever since I found out about Nano, I’ve thought it was a great idea and I’ve planned on doing it “some day.”  I forget my excuse the first year, probably I didn’t find out about it until it was already underway.  Two years ago I didn’t think I could do the word count and last year it didn’t fit where I was in the process with AH1.

So here we are near the end of March and I am going to have (if I keep pace) a completed outline for AH2 and a couple of weeks before I get all of the feedback back on my 3rd Draft.  I was planning on starting the 1st Draft of AH2 while I waited and the idea of getting a running start to push my schedule felt pretty good.

The question is, do I take a real running start at AH2 and aim to crank out a whole 1st Draft?  It’s a trade off.  It would push back my schedule for AH1 by 2-3 weeks.  Not that much in the grand scheme of things.  But finishing AH1 and getting it out there is my priority so doing the Nano now feels like I’m trading off my priority.  I’d hate for it to be the snowball that started rolling toward not getting the book out this year.  The other side is that it would feel pretty awesome to have a 1st Draft of AH2 in the can at the beginning of May and all of the feedback that I need to get seriously rolling on draft 4 of AH1.  Oh and the whole challenge of actually doing it would be pretty fun too.

Another impact is that it would definitely require some extreme discipline in April and cause me to trade off some extra curricular activities.  That really does not sound fun and at the same time if I look at it like a month of investing in my career it seems like a good choice.

The Nano Spring Camp starts in 8 days, so I’ve got some time to mull it over.

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2 responses to “To Nano or Not To Nano

  1. Of course it depends on your speed but I didn’t spend more than an hour or two a day on NaNo the two times I’ve done it, and it felt great the whole time. It didn’t feel like a huge burden, more like I had committed to writing every day. So I didn’t have to feel guilty about taking time away from other obligations to write, and could just feel good about writing.

    There’s also a Camp NaNo in July I think, but then there would be even more extracurriculars to enjoy!

    • Hey Liz, thanks for the encouragement. I would definitely need to average 1-2 hours a day, most likely 2 most days. Soccer season cuts into evenings and weekends a little bit, making it harder to hit the 2 hours or make up for it on the weekend. Also, every other Tuesday evening is spoken for, but I guess I could skip going to group a couple of times and get a few hours that way.

      I appreciate the suggestion for July. I saw that on the Camp Nano site. I’m just trying to decide if I should be opportunistic right now.

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