Resisting the Siren Song of NaNoWriMo

NaNo LogoSo, it’s that time of year again.

The time to start thinking about writing novels in November.

Even though I do not do NaNoWriMo every year, not a single November has passed since I first participated in 2005 that I haven’t thought about it.

This year I told myself it was completely out-of-the-question. Sometimes it takes me a full week to cobble together enough writing time to post a single entry in my Year in Disney Movies blog project. Despite having finally finished my Rapunzel novel, I am behind schedule on all my writing projects, including the little ones like book reviews. My work life is unpredictable, and life in general is unpredictable, so it’s been hard for me to clear the necessary “space” for writing. I still write almost every day, but not for as long or as many words as I would like. Certainly not long enough to churn out 1667 words daily.

Last week, a friend texted me to see if I would be doing NaNo this year. I told her no, but that I would still like to be invited to write-ins because I am always in need of more writing time.

I saw this friend in person yesterday. We chatted about NaNo. A flood of good memories washed over me. (I always remember the good memories surrounding NaNo rather than the feeling while I’m in the midst of it that I can’t wait for it to be over!) Even more tempting were the dreams of a future novel that could be birthed in just one month. My brain is full of novel snippets that are hoping for their chance to transform into real, growned-up novels, and NaNoWriMo is the best time for me to pull them out, heap them high with fertilizer, and scream maniacally, “GROW, GROW, GROW!!!”

I know that many of my novels probably would not have been written if not for NaNo — in fact, out of the 10 novelsWinner-2014-Twitter-Profile I’ve written, exactly half of them have been written during NaNo.

As if she could see all of this in my eyes, my friend said, “You’re totally going to do it, aren’t you?”

“I don’t knooooow,” I lamented, my resolve weakening.

I had a long conversation with my husband on the car ride home. He has lived through two NaNo Novembers, so he knows what the stakes are. He also knows that I perpetually feel as if I can never get everything I want to done. He said, “If you want to do NaNoWriMo, you’re going to need to get better at saying No.”

I know it’s true. I am horrible at saying no. Including to NaNoWriMo.

But now that I’m more than 24 hours removed from the peer pressure, I feel my resolve strengthening. But I DO want to keep the tradition of November being my time to really focus on my writing — perhaps I can finally get caught up on some self-imposed deadlines before the end of the year.

After all, the fewer writing projects I leave “hanging,” the free-er I will be come next November.