By Itzuvit (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By Itzuvit (Own work) CC BY-SA 3, via Wikimedia Commons

Well, it’s November, which means writers feel compelled to talk about NaNoWriMo. I don’t really have strong feelings for or against NaNoWriMo – it has its uses, and it works for some people but not for others – and anyway, I don’t have a lot of time right now, so I’ll offer a few quick words on why NOT to write.

So much of the writing advice you see stresses the importance of pushing yourself to write, often with word-count goals such as NaNo has. It takes 10,000 hours to perfect a craft, or 1 million words of crap to start writing well, or whatever figure you want to quote. Sure, getting your practice in is important. But sometimes things intervene. For example:

  1. You have numerous other things going on in your life, like doctor’s appointments (in my case, for myself and my cat over the last several weeks, which has really been chewing up my time (and I’m okay, btw, my cat less so)),
  2. You’ve made a big error in the project you’re trying to write, and it’s going to take some time to fix it.

Again in my case, I started an SF project set in a dome with a rebel group fighting a despotic government, which has only been done a million times already. Even I was getting bored with it, and I wasn’t sure how to make it more unique. What’s worse, I wasn’t even enthusiastic about the characters, and it’s their voices that have to carry the story. I’m not going to dig myself out of this hole by pushing myself to make word count. Time to take a breather and figure out what I really want to do with this project.

So if you’re not doing NaNo, don’t fret. There will be time to write, even after November.


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