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novel writing: giving up - sort of

I thought I could do it. I just can't.

Between work and meetings at school and helping kids with homework and all the other stuff in between, I just could not find the time to write.

Yea, I know plenty of people doing the NaNo thing have kids and jobs and busy lives. I just can't afford to put more stress on myself right now.

I'm still going to write the novel. I'll find the time on weekends, or write during my lunch hour at work. But I am certainly not going to get to 50,000 words by the end of November.

Besides, I think my goal doesn't fit in with the Novel Writing Month goal; I want to write a publishable novel. I can't do that and force myself to write a certain amount of words in a certain amount of days. It's not the way I write and I'm too old to change my ways now. Or stubborn.


Who are you writing for? If you are writing only for yourself, write in your head. If you are writing only for others, hire someone else to do it. If you are writing because you just can't help it, then quit worrying and write, for G-d's sake!!! No doubt you budget time for other things, so why not budget time to write? You probably do little just for yourself...and this is not harmful, not chemically-enhanced, and WHY NOT WRITE?

I understand where you are coming from. I really want to do this, but it's not an issue that I'm wasting time and this will help me focus, it's an issue of not having time to focus on this novel. I've got some good ideas, and I will probably write a novel of sorts, but I am 90% sure I cannot complete this by November.

Oh, pshaw. I'd be lucky if I could say 50,000 words by the end of November.

that's ok- once it's done, WHENEVER it's done, it will have been for you. and that's what will matter.

Most people who write professionally--cranking out a book every year and a half or so--manage to write on some sort of word or page a day schedule. I've never been able to stay on that kind of pace, personally. And plenty of novels have been written over the span of ten years or more. I think the main thing is not to let the occasional day off turn into weeks and months off.

Let me weigh in as someone who has actually managed to write two novels. (Okay... not Proust, but still.)

Do it at your own pace, not someone else's pace (provided that the 'someone else' isn't an editor breathing down your neck.) As James noted, many writers I know keep to a schedule, and that's fine. For them. Some of us, though, can only write when the mood strikes, not at some arbitrary time like '7 AM' or 'November.'

When it's time, you'll know it. In the meantime, keep reading and playing around with plots and voices in your head. You'd be surprised on how much of the creative process occurs away from the keyboard.

By the way, the actual physical act of writing -- the keyboard part -- isn't for the weak. After a 10,000 word day, you feel like you've been hauling bricks for 12 hours. Still, it's satisfying.

I am participating in NaNo and from the very beginning, did not intend complete the goal. What I am using it as is a motivator to get going. Even if I only make it no where near the goal by the end of the month, I will still feel successful because I have done the hardest thing-- getting started.

Getting to 50,000 words in a month isn't that hard. Getting to 50,000 GOOD words is hard. Even if the stuff is crud, get it down and work on editing later. There may be some gems in that pile of junk. Heck, I should follow my own advice. Treat it like a weblog. It's not like you need to pump out a novel to put food on the table.

Ginger: Getting started is easy. It's getting past page 45 or so that's hard.

Michelle: As a writer who's having a book published next year, I'm with you on this. I tried Nanowrimo two years ago, and didn't even write one word. Nada.

When I wrote my book, I wrote the prologue in August of 2000, the first 2/3 in November of that year, and the last 1/3 in April of 2001. And it's taken three more years after that until the shelf-date (Summer 2004). It's a very arduous process, believe me.

There's no shame in not being able to finish the book for Nanowrimo. Trust me on this. Hell, I've got two books on the computer now, 90 pages each, that I've stalled in, and the sequel to my first one, sort of in neutral at page 60.

That's what writing really is: knowing in your heart the right time to start and the right time to finish. At least, that's what novel writing is.


Stop it!! Stop the insanity!!!

Do not write a novel. Death and destruction await thee -- with sharp pointy teeth.

Damn your eyes! A pox on you!

(Oh sorry, I was momentarily possessed by a 83-year-old Romanian woman.)

I will give you copies of my novels just so you so you don't have to write your own. Will that satisfy you once and for all?