Monday, December 1, 2014

Another NaNo Ends

Another year ends at midnight and as always, there are mixed feelings. You would think since I'm retired and have more time that it would have been the easiest year yet. In fact, it was the hardest. 

I did fine on the word count for a while and although I got behind I was getting caught up. But this happened several times over the course of three weeks. I had problems with my RA and there were several days I could not use the computer due to pain in my hands caused by long periods of ... typing trying to catch up. By the holiday, I was 5000 behind again and I knew I was finished. I reached.36,586 words. Not bad but not a win. 

This was also my 4th year as Municipal Liaison for my region. I was thrilled when one of the participants volunteered to be Co-ML. She made a lot of the work easier in both the planning stages and during the month by hosting write-ins and filling in a couple of times when I had to be away. ML's are responsible for herding a bunch of novel writers for a whole month, hosting write-ins, sending out encouragement, moderating their forums, providing guidance, answering questions, and commiserating with those who fall behind. They also have to write their own 50,000 word novel. 

NaNoWriMo has probably been the best thing that ever happened to me. I've made wonderful friends. I've learned so much from the participants and from the process. There are those who don't feel that way. 

You'll find critics everywhere. The reasons they cite are that it fosters bad writing habits, the creation of inferior novels, and it is simply a waste of time. I disagree completely because NaNoWriMo doesn't ever indicate to anyone, anywhere that they will have a good, publishable novel at the end of November. In fact, they point out that you'll have lots of work to do to get it to that level, if you can. They encourage regular writing habits, giving you a word count that is manageable. No one who does NaNo should go in blind. This requires work and consistency. If you can't do NaNo, novel writing probably isn't for you. As to the inferior novels... there's plenty of them published and selling. I'm aiming a bit higher.

Now that NaNo is over I'm anxious to get to work on some novels I was working on before November. I had two with plot problems that had suddenly begin to mesh when I had to pick up my ML hat. I'm also looking forward to the River City Scribes meetings that start back up in January. We've recently obtained a new venue for the meetings that is so much nicer than where we've been meeting over the last year and a half. We'll have plenty of room and be able to bring food and drinks.

So, am I sorry to see another NaNo ending? A bit but not so much. There are some exciting writing things happening here and I'd rather move on to those. Will I be back next year as ML or to write another novel? I don't know. Each year, ML's have to reapply to be an ML. They don't fire you but if you fail to send in your application, someone else will be appointed if they have submitted an application. They could pick someone other than me. Although, I suspect that rarely happens. When I first stated doing NaNo there was no ML in this region.  

I will be writing whether there's NaNo or not. Over the course of this last year I've stopped thinking beyond today. I like to think I will be able to pick up that ML hat next November and do it again. Regardless of what happens, I've had a great run with NaNo. The experience is one I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys writing. Even if you do it once and never again, you'll have a great time.

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