The blog posts here automatically get ported to Facebook (at a snail's pace, but they get there) so there might be some people reading this that don't know what "NaNoWriMo" is beyond thinking it's some sort of comically miniature organization. Not quite - it's a rather lengthy acronym for National Novel Writing Month. I guess it should really be InterNaNoWriMo because it really is an international event that gets publicity all over the Internet. Either way, it shall be known from here on as "NaNo" for (even) short(er).
I've participated a couple of times - the first few times when it was a smaller event, I don't think I even got a word of a story on the page. Last year was my most successful attempt, though I still didn't reach the 50,000 word landmark to "win" the "competition". There is a very simple reason for this: I procrastinate and make excuses for not finding the time to write.
There is another reason, and it's also why I am going back and forth in my head about my participation in the 2010 edition of NaNo. I've discovered in the last few months that I am much more attuned to writing non-fiction than fiction. Sure, I know critically what makes a good story, but I have difficulty writing a good story. Sure, I could practice and get better, but I find it more natural to write non-fiction and communicate from my perspective instead of a made-up character's perspective.
When I read an article or essay I've written, I can often look back at it with pride, knowing that I think it's good. When I read a story I've written, I don't usually react the same way. I think it's not good enough, that I could do better.
I also struggle with editing fiction. It just doesn't come as easily as editing, for instance, an essay. With fiction, it's like I've written something in French and am trying to correct the grammar. I can get by, but it will still look a little sloppy.
Still, NaNo is tempting. If you win - that is, write 50k words in 30 days - you get a lot of goodies. One of them is a free proof of your book at CreateSpace. It's not the most professional looking thing, and definitely not the same as getting published, but for my writing level it's a pretty neat thing. This is why I always think about taking part in the grueling task that is forcing yourself to write 50k words.
What should I do? I have some ideas for a novel if I were to take part. If I do this, I don't think I would do any kind of planning ahead of time - just wing it. As long as I write 1,667 words a day, that's all that matters for this undertaking. Opinions, anybody?